After an incident-packed 1938 attempt, an American team made another bid to climb the world's second highest peak the following year. The expedition was led by the mercurial Austrian emigre Fritz Wiessner. With the more experienced climbers recovering after the events of 1938, Wiessner was forced to take a weaker team that included a number of rich but inexperienced climber/adventurers. The problem was compounded by a personality clash between the leader and the second most experienced climber, Jack Durrance. The attempt reached a dramatic climax when Wiessner, returning from a final solo summit bid was forced to leave the stricken Dudley Wolfe in a high camp, descending to get assistance and supplies, only to find the lower camps had been emptied of all food and equipment. When a rescue attempt was finally mounted three leading Sherpas perished and Wolfe was found dead. The subsequent recriminations between Wiessner and Durrance have soured American climbing circles for over 50 years. With the help of the only-recently-available Durrance diaries, Putnam and Kauffman have made a re-examination of the decisions and actions that led to tragedy.