Reviews and Endorsements for Winter 8000

Winter 8000 tells the stories of some of the most difficult and gripping adventures ever done – climbing the world’s highest peaks in the cruellest season – winter. Known as the Ice Warriors, they perfected the art of suffering in high-altitude storms and desperate bivouacs in sub-zero temperatures. While their climbs soar above the page in vivid detail, McDonald shines a burning and intimate light into the souls of those who push themselves to the very edge of what is humanly possible.  An instant mountaineering classic.

I couldn’t stop reading. Totally gripping. 

Jimmy Chin, co-director Free Solo


With Winter 8000, Bernadette McDonald demonstrates once more her essential contribution to mountaineering history. With vividness and keen insight, she evokes a world that few experience firsthand: the landscapes of black ice, thin air and searing cold, as well as the haunting inner realms of people drawn to the isolation of the highest peaks and the darkest months. 

Katie Ives, Editor-in-Chief, Alpinist


Bernadette McDonald has done it again. The men and women who pioneered the first ascents of the fourteen highest peaks on earth in the dead of winter have pushed the limits of mountaineering to glorious new extremes, but at a terrible cost. Out of their epics, McDonald has crafted an anthology of vivid stories, rich in character and conflict, and always attuned to the central question: Is it worth the risk? You won’t be able to put Winter 8000 down.

David Roberts, award-winning author, Mountain of my Fear


With this book, Bernadette McDonald burnishes her already shining reputation as one of our great climbing historians. These accounts give us a fascinating portrayal of the few alpinists who are willing to endure winter ascents of the world’s highest mountains. It’s a high stakes game, and we learn how small mistakes that might be inconsequential during the warmer seasons can become tragic when it is -30C with 100 km/hr winds and the days are short. Themes of fortitude and partnership build on each other through these stories that have now been brought together in a single volume. It is a good read.

Steve Swenson, alpinist


One of the mountaineers in Winter 8000 was a man I loved. After attempting to climb Everest during its coldest, most dangerous season he came home ravaged, yet determined to try the same on K2. So, while Bernadette MacDonald’s powerful book was a harrowing read, I was compelled by her portrayals of men and women who embark on such ferocious adventures. Her clear-eyed accounts of their expeditions reveal the climbers’ addiction to the cruel, rarified beauty of the high Himalaya. And how, pushed by intense ambition, they repeatedly risk destroying their lives and shattering the hearts of those who love them. 

Maria Coffey, author of Fragile Edge: Loss on Everest, Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow, and
Explorers of the Infinite.


There are no stories more terrifying, dramatic, and tearful than the abundant struggles, frequent tragedies, and rare successes in winter Himalayan climbing.

Steve House, alpinist, author of Beyond the Mountain.


Bernadette McDonald has the skill and experience to work on the largest Himalayan tapestry, the epic history, as well as pick at its individual human threads.

Andy Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of Psychovertical and Cold Wars.


Reading Bernadette’s superb book brought back memories of our attempt on the South-West Face of Everest in the autumn of 1972 when the wind and bitter cold overtook us. K2 is the only 8000-metre peak still unclimbed in winter. Already the most difficult and dangerous mountain in the world, its first winter ascent remains a huge challenge for climbers of this generation and the future.

Sir Chris Bonington