Would You Climb This if Your Life Depended on it? House’s Chimney on K2

Some mountain features will win beauty contests, and some won’t.

There’s Scarface at Indian Creek, which is very possibly the most-photographed rock climb of all time. There’s the east face of Longs Peak, also called The Diamond for obvious reasons. There’s Ama Dablam, one of the most picturesque peaks on the planet.

And then there’s House’s Chimney.

The popular conduit to the summit of K2 does not exactly beg to be climbed, based on a visual inspection. No BS: I’ve seen gravel driveways in rural Texas with less loose rock than this decaying pile.

But it’s well understood that to get up K2, sacrifices must be made, and the path of least resistance has nothing to do with aesthetics.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.