Sunday, February 24, 2008

In the past couple of days I have managed to finish one of my many Everest books. This one is by David Breashears called High Exposure. I'm not sure what book sparked my interest in Everest, but now I am on a one woman campaign to read as many books about it as I can. The most recent one that I've read that is my favorite is called High Crimes, by Michael Koda. It is one of my staff picks at the moment and it seems to be getting a good amount of press.
David Breashears was on Everest during the 1996 climbing season that so many climbers lost their lives. I think what made this season so shocking as well was the fact that two of the climbers that died were well seasoned climbers, that were the head of some of the expeditions on the mountain. It made Everest even more deadly to climbers, since some of the best and seasoned climbers in the world could succumb to the mountain. It's quite interesting to see how different points of view of this one event can differ in regards to what happened. So far I've read three different accounts of that one climbing season. One was by Beck Weathers, who was left to die on the mountain. His story is one of inspiration. He was left, considered dead, three times. The other one that I have read, of that one horrible climbing season, was Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer.
What really bothered me about the Breashears book was one line that was included in his memoir. It's funny how this one line, one word more like it, has changed my view of who Breashears is as a person. He was recounting one of the climbers on the mountain during his last few moments over a radio. Rob Hall was stuck on the upper section of Everest, unable to make it down, because he refused to leave one of his clients behind. Instead of showing the bravery of what Rob had done, Breashears refers to Rob's voice during his last few moments of radio broadcast as "pathetic". This makes me really angry. Breashears does mention how it was noble of Hall to do what he did, but I didn't think it was appropriate to refer to someone who is dying, who had sacrificed their life trying to save someone else's, as having a "pathetic" voice.
Besides that one little mishap i did enjoy reading Breashears memoir. It made me respect his IMAX Everest movie more, since I have been saying that it wasn't that impressive. His book goes into detail on how hard it was to film it and that it wasn't meant to be seen on the small screen. Everything they filmed they had to take into account that it would be several stories high. This reduced the amount of plot that the story could have and instead focused on the surroundings and beauty of Mt. Everest.

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