One Man’s Climb: A Journey of Trauma, Tragedy and Triumph on K2


One Man’s Climb is a remarkably honest and transparent account of the challenges, both externally and internally, that anyone who dares to take it on experiences. I congratulate Adrian for this fascinating read, for attempting K2 and for becoming one of only a tiny handful of Britons who have reached the top – and lived to tell the tale.” – SIR RANULPH FIENNES, Foreword, One Man’s Climb

The mother of all mountains, K2 is a savage beast.  Those in the know call it ‘the mountaineers’ mountain.’ Attempting to climb the world’s second highest mountain means staring death in the face and risking your life.  Therefore, what on earth inspires high-altitude mountaineers to tackle its fearsome heights?  The drive to push boundaries, achieve something monumental, leave a legacy, all these things play a part.  As does the desire to achieve something significant; to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’

Adrian Hayes relishes a challenge and has had plenty of them in his high-octane, adventure-fuelled life. Having trekked all the way to the North and South Poles and summited Mount Everest amongst numerous other achievements, Hayes saw K2 as the ‘big kahuna’ – one of the world’s steepest, most technically difficult and challenging mountains to climb. Furthermore, K2’s high altitude and notorious conditions – sheer rock and ice faces, rock fall hazards, avalanche dangers – make the chances of a successful summit incredibly low.

One Man’s Climb chronicles Adrian Hayes failed attempt to summit K2 in 2013 and subsequent success the following year.  The two-and-a-half-year commitment he gave to the mountain was life-changing and came at a great personal cost.  Struggling with guilt and regret as a father, Hayes talks candidly about his parallel journey of a traumatic five-year battle through the British family courts to have contact with his children – an emotional challenge he regards as being as hard as climbing K2.

Hayes’s gripping narrative shifts seamlessly from his personal domestic struggle to the profound events on K2. The story of high-altitude mountaineering, being connected to nature and living in the present is compelling, as are his friendships with fellow mountaineers and Sherpas; the physical and mental hardships, triumphs and tragedies. Significantly, Hayes was one of the last people to speak to acclaimed New Zealand mountaineering guide Marty Schmidt and his son Denali. Both tragically died on K2 in 2013. Hayes broke the news to the outside world.

One Man’s Climb is a deeply moving, intensely personal story about the beauty and brutality of life, and death, on the world’s most perilous mountain.  Confronting and hard-hitting, Hayes talks about the madness of our material, technology-ravaged world, the real reason adventurers attempt major feats and controversially debunks the ‘adventure for charity’ claims.  Hayes’s is equally blunt about his internal journey, motivations and struggles, emerging from his summit experience with renewed self-awareness, profound personal insights and powerful lessons for our lives in the world below.

“When one tackles death head on, when life is stripped to those bare elements and when one is in complete connection with rock, ice, sun, sky and stars, our priorities in life take on a whole new meaning. I look at materialism, consumerism, vast possessions and flash cars with amusement – even though I’m a ‘petrol head’ F1 fan. They mean nothing at 8,000 metres and, in reality, should mean little at sea level. None of them ever bring happiness or fulfilment and, indeed, merely add to the clutter and chaos of our lives,” says Adrian Hayes.

Absorbing and self-reflective, One Man’s Climb is as much a story of climbing a mountain as it is a compass for conquering the mountain within all of us.

ADRIAN HAYES is a British record-breaking adventurer, author, keynote speaker, business coach, documentary presenter and sustainability campaigner.

An Arabic and Nepalese speaking former British Army Gurkha Officer, who also spent two years as part of the Special Forces, he has conquered Everest, K2, the North and South Poles, the length of Greenland by kite-ski and the Arabian Desert by camel amidst a lifetime of adventure, setting two Guinness World Records, writing two books, and featuring in three documentaries to date.

One of the few extreme adventurers in the world with a senior corporate background, including six years as an Airbus Middle East Sales Director, Adrian is an internationally acclaimed keynote / motivational speaker and professional leadership, team, and executive coach & consultant, delivering speeches, seminars, and programmes worldwide.

He is an advisor to the European Mars One project, an ambassador on economic, social & environmental sustainability and a patron of several organisations and charities, speaking, writing, and campaigning on related contemporary world issues. As a former qualified Paramedic, he is also involved in an ongoing project providing medical treatment and health & hygiene education in the remote areas of the Himalayas.

Adrian has featured in three documentaries: ‘The Greenland Quest’ in 2011 for the National Geographic Channel, ‘Footsteps of Thesiger’ in 2013 and In Inner Mongolia in 2017 for the Discovery Channel, and is now an establishing television and documentary presenter. His first book, Footsteps of Thesiger, was published in 2013, and details his 44-day journey across the Arabian Desert. His second book, One Man’s Climb: A Journey of Trauma, Tragedy and Triumph on K2, was launched in the UK in November 2018 and will be published worldwide from March 2019. For more:

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