K2: One Woman’s Quest for the Summit – Heidi Howkins

Sharing her car on an overnight drive home with a hitchhiker Hiddle, Heidi Howkins shares vignettes of some of the climbs and crises that culminated in her 1998 attempt on K2.

More shocking than her descriptions of finding dead bodies of climbers killed in previous years are her accounts of domestic violence meted out by her husband, Zee, including the attack on her and third member of their climbing team, Chris Binggeli. There is a quotation from Chris’s diary that really struck me:

The absolute ad pure brutality of that attack will stay with me forever. The realisation that there is an explosive violence and naked brutality that can be hidden in a person and all of a sudden triggered, like a gun, is what terrified me much more than the physical violence. … The body is able to heal and forget, the mid is it. At least mine is not.

At the time, Heidi Howkins had been married to Zee for seven years and they had a 6 year old daughter.

Part 2 covers 1999-2000, and two more (failed) attempts in K2. The 1999 expedition is abandoned when the cameraman gets HAPE before even travelling out to Pakistan. K2000 – an attempt from K2’s north side – is a disaster from the start: a group of alpha males failing to work as a team even before they leave the US.

Fast forward to the present day, and Heidi Howkins Lockwood is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University.

Amazon link: K2: One Woman’s Quest for the Summit – Heidi Howkins