Friday, July 18, 2008

High Crimes - Michael Kodas

Subtitled: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed.

I actually listened to this in audio format. I think it had a greater impact than on me than reading it would have.

Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest, the highest peak in the world, in 1953. Since then climbers have flocked in droves to achieve this same lofty goal and the world has watched, fascinated with those willing to risk their lives to stand 'on top of the world.'

Michael Kodas, the author, attempted this climb in 2004. He was sponsored by the newspaper he worked for in Connecticut. This book covers so much more than his trip.

The title says it all. Hillary himself expressed disgust on the 50th anniversary of his achievement over the 'circus' that Everest has become.

Kodas exposes the underbelly of Everest. He details the many deaths on the mountain and follows one family as they search for answers. The thieving, greed and selfishness detailed are not as much as a revelation as they might have been. Numerous stories detailing rescues of climbers left for dead, passed over by many other climbers have been in the news.

Everest basecamp is home to prostitution and drugs,theft and violence.

When I finished listening to the book, I went online and viewed pictures of Everest. It is breathtaking in it's beauty. I can see why people the world over flock here to achieve their dream. However it the sheen is tarnished.

In High Crimes, Kodas presents a well researched, detailed interview of many of the key players in the Himalayas and the ugly side of the mountain.

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