At an elevation of 28,251 feet, K2 is the second highest mountain in the world—surpassed only by Mt. Everest. Experts agree a climb to the ominous peak of K2 is a more difficult and dangerous climb. INTO THE CLOUDS is the story of three separate American attempts to reach the top—first in 1938, followed by 1939, and then finally 1953.intotheclouds.jpg

Each of the accounts are filled with details of the harrowing journey. Individuals with the drive to even attempt such a climb come from different parts of the U.S., but all share the desire to do what many believed at the time to be impossible.

Details of each climb will have you on the edge of your seat. Halfway through the first story, I couldn’t help but question why would someone want to do something so life threatening. One of the climbers summed it up further with these chilling words: “It tries to kill you.”

I kept reading and discovered they do it for the sheer love of climbing and the freedom it provides. It’s a brotherhood (and since then a sisterhood) only few experience.

The stories are superbly researched, filled with black and white photos and a few drawings. Each detail is an often sad reminder of the toll this mountain can take. And don’t miss the excellent back of the book material. Included are images of the gear needed to attack K2, a compelling author’s note, and further sources.

Perfect for ages ten and up. Kids and adults alike will get caught up in the excitement presented within these pages.


Tod Olson is the author of the narrative nonfiction series, LOST, and the historical fiction series How to Get Rich. He has written for national magazines on the Columbine school shooting, homeless teens, the murder of Matthew Shepard, and many other stories of interest to children and young adults. Tod holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Vermont with his family, his mountain bike, and his electric reclining chair. To learn more, and to download free teaching resources, visit his website:


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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to INTO THE CLOUDS

  1. A book for the adventurous spirit who may not be brave enough to take on such an adventurous climb up the K2. I can see someone doing it for the beuaty, solitude and love of climbing. So many tragedies on K2 — but there were some victories. I think teens would enjoy living/imagining the adventure in this story.

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