Thieves, Liars and Mountaineers: On the 8,000m peak circus in Pakistan
This is the tale of Mark Horrell's not-so-nearly ascent of Gasherbrum in Pakistan, of how one man's boredom and frustration was conquered by a gutsy combination of exhaustion, cowardice, and sheer mountaineering incompetence.
He made not one, not two, but three intrepid assaults, some of which got quite a distance beyond Base Camp, and overcame many perilous circumstances along the way. The mountaineer Joe Simpson famously crawled for three days with a broken leg, but did he ever have to read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown while waiting for a weather window?
But that's enough about Mark's attempt; there were some talented climbers on the mountain as well, and this story is also about them. How did they get on? Heroes, villains, oddballs and madmen – 8,000m peaks attract them all, and drama, intrigue and cock-ups aplenty were inevitable.
About this series
The Footsteps on the Mountain Diaries are Mark's expedition journals. They are edited versions of what he scribbles in his tent each evening after a day in the mountains, with a bit of history thrown in. Light-hearted and engaging, they provide a perfect introduction to life on the trail.
He has published two full-length books: Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest (2015), about his ten-year journey from hill walker to Everest climber, and Feet and Wheels to Chimborazo (2019), about an expedition to cycle and climb from sea level to the furthest point from the centre of the earth.