Louis Reichardt has experienced both success and tragedy in his efforts to climb the world's highest summits. Here he recalls his spectacular ascents of the two highest mountains in the world. In 1978, he reached the summit of K2 making him the first American ever to do so. Five years later, he joined a team that reached the peak of Mount Everest via the challenging east face, a feat that has never been repeated. Reichardt discusses the impact of mountaineering on his scientific career and the love of adventure and discovery that is shared by scientists and climbers.