It's dubbed the "Savage Mountain" for good reason.
Pakistan's K2 claims one life for every four successful ascents.
It stands at 8611 metres.
It boasts just a third the oxygen of sea-level.
It's claimed more than 80 climbers.
These risks weren't unknown to former Hastings mountaineer Marty Schmidt. One of the globe's acclaimed "peak freaks" is now presumed dead alongside his 25-year-old son and climbing protege, Denali, following an avalanche on K2 sometime over the weekend.
I was lucky enough to interview Marty, then aged 45, in September 2005.
Looking back at the clipping and photo of our interview, he was wearing a T-shirt with the words: "Geared for the vertical world".
His handshake won't be forgotten. For someone whose life and livelihood depended on fastening to rock, his grip crushed my fingers.
Over coffee in a Hastings cafe, his fidgety energy had to be seen to be believed. Looking back, I'm guessing it's because he was never quite content at sea-level.
Here was someone lucky enough to be in awe of his vocation.
"Climbing can be safer than walking down Queen St," he told me. "One person's risk is their passion - and another's poison.
"When I climb, or guide, or ski off an 8000-metre summit, the calling is the strongest. It's like ascending to the Moon without Nasa backing you up."
My favourite quote from the interview was: "There's no bullsh*t in mountaineering because there's no bulls living above 8000 metres."
Life gets simpler the higher you climb. Maybe that was the draw.
That said, I struggle to subscribe to the call to step into the void. What I find easier to appreciate is this father and son's unbridled lust for life. Such passion is universal.