Winter 8000

Climbing the world's highest mountains in the coldest season

Author: Bernadette McDonald

Series title:

Hardback publication date: 03 Sep 2020

Hardback ISBN: 9781912560387

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SHORTLISTED: The Great Outdoors Book of the Year 2020

Of all the games mountaineers play, the hardest – and cruellest – is climbing the fourteen peaks over 8,000 metres in winter. Award-winning author Bernadette McDonald tells how Poland’s ice warriors made winter their own, perfecting what they dubbed ‘the art of suffering’. Winter 8000 is the story of true adventure at its most demanding.

‘He appeared, without a word, in the tent’s entrance, covered in ice. He looked like anyone would after spending over twenty-four hours in a hurricane at over 8,000 metres. In winter. In the Karakoram. He was so exhausted he couldn’t speak.’

Of all the games mountaineers play on the world’s high mountains, the hardest – and cruellest – is climbing the fourteen peaks over 8,000 metres in the bitter cold of winter. Ferocious winds that can pick you up and throw you down, freezing temperatures that burn your lungs and numb your bones, weeks of psychological torment in dark isolation: these are adventures for those with an iron will and a ruthless determination.

For the first time, award-winning author Bernadette McDonald tells the story of how Poland’s ice warriors made winter their own, perfecting what they dubbed ‘the art of suffering’ as they fought their way to the summit of Everest in the winter of 1980 – the first 8,000-metre peak they climbed this way but by no means their last.

She reveals what it was that inspired the Poles to take up this brutal game, how increasing numbers of climbers from other nations were inspired to enter the arena, and how competition intensified as each remaining peak finally submitted to leave just one awaiting a winter ascent, the meanest of them all: K2.

Winter 8000 is the story of true adventure at its most demanding.

Bernadette McDonald is the author of eleven books on mountaineering and mountain culture, including Art of Freedom (2017), Freedom Climbers (2011), Alpine Warriors (2015), Keeper of the Mountains (2012), Tomaž Humar (2008) and Brotherhood of the Rope (2007). McDonald has won numerous awards, including her second Boardman Tasker Prize and the Banff Award for Mountain Literature for Art of Freedom in 2017. She won her first Boardman Tasker Prize and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize for Freedom Climbers in 2011. She has also won Italy’s ITAS Prize for mountain writing (2010) and is a three-time winner of India’s Kekoo Naoroji Award for Mountain Literature. In 2012 the American Alpine Club awarded her their highest literary honour for excellence in mountain literature. She was the founding Vice President of Mountain Culture at the Banff Centre and director of the Banff Mountain Festivals for twenty years. She has also received the Alberta Order of Excellence (2009), the Summit of Excellence Award from the Banff Centre (2007), the King Albert Award for international leadership in the field of mountain culture and environment (2006), and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). Bernadette has degrees in English Literature and Music, with specialisation in performance and analytical theory. When not writing, she climbs, hikes, skis, paddles and grows grapes.

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