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High Crimes Paperback – 11 Jun 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: HYPERION (11 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401309844
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401309848
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Michael Kodas is more than qualified to spill the beans on the avarice that has engulfed the worlds tallest mountain. Working on a pulitzer prize winning team of journalists at the Hartford Courant Kodas has two unsuccessful summit attempts of Everest under his belt.

In 2004 Kodas and his wife decided to taste first hand the exhilaration associated with climbing Mount Everest, but instead of camaraderie and new friendships he found intimidation,deceit and death. He joined a team that used him for financial gain and abandoned him on the mountain during a crisis, but this was only the beginning.

Kodas exposes the trickery employed by uncertified guides to use wealthy clients to fund their own personal summit ambitions. We see first hand the utter disregard for human life on the mountain with climbers literally stepping over injured and dying people in an attempt to ease their own summit fever. We get an in depth account of Nils Antezana who died on the mountain after being abandoned by his guide and Sherpas and the disgusting behaviour of these individuals who sought " tips " from the dead mans family afterwards. Kodas paints a pretty dim picture of violence, corruption and intimidation among the Himalayas where theft of vital equipment and black market resale is an everyday and almost accepted behaviour. The farcical mountain cleanups and the much maligned charity climbs are mentioned here too with some particularly distressing evidence for the latter, where a climber announces an Everest climb for charity and then uses the money raised to fund the expedition !

This book although factual reads like a novel, it's well written and I had difficulty putting it down. Anyone with a romantic view of mountaineering should read this book , it will not disappoint and may even educate. I certainly learned a lot from it.
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By Big Jim TOP 100 REVIEWER on 2 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It has taken me a while to get round to reading this book but once i'd started it was very difficult to put it down. The author certainly pulls no punches, names names and is forthright in his allegations. This is all good. I don't know how many mountaineers or those interested in the mountains themselves will get out of this book though. It is mainly about the personalities concerned rather than a "hard" climbing book so this needs to be borne in mind if choosing to purchase it. I did also find the author's trait of jumping the narrative back and forth in time, and between different viewpoints sometimes a bit irritating. Perhaps a straight forward chronological account would have suited me better but nevertheless this is still a very informative and valuable book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found that this book an excellent read, well written, well researched, and well referenced, from start to finish. It really puts insight into the commercial side of climbing Everest. If you have an interest in the goings on within the climbing community; then you will really enjoy this. I read it through a night. Excellent a real eye opener.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very well written book even for those who like me don't use english as their native language. I'm not going to say I loved every single part of it but I'd rather say is an ok book to bring along for an intercontinental flight. The author keeps the "crime" thing at a minimun and focuses a lot more on the "romantic" part of the story. Towards the end the book starts finally to get more interesting as the true stories of greed,robberies and deaths starts to pop out but until then it's more or less a bunch of names followed by their own more or less romantic or tragic adventures. Bottom line an ok read but if you're looking for the "wow" factor or the "head nod " factor look elsewhere.
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I read this book over a number of days, it must be book number 20 I have read in the 6 months on mountaineering but it was by far the most most disappointing too. The reason is that this is a very negative book, Kodas has basically taken every situation which has had some sort of controversy (either happened to him or he heard or read about) and milked the subject to death. The book can also be hard to follow as there are many threads running at the same time and the chapters have no titles to assist.

Whilst I do not doubt the truth in what is being written it is clearer that his own experience on Everest was not a good one having joined a small expedition, although he himself states that the smaller cheaper expeditions are not well supported and those climbers that do sign on better know what they are doing. No surprise there, buy a cheap car and you better know something about car mechanics!

So whilst all this has no doubt happened it must represent a small volume of normal activity in the mountains. Importantly common sense would suggest that any professional would know what to look for ahead of time and not rely on chance and any amateurs (who are clearly taking a big chance but with big rewards) should sign up with the big and expensive boys such as the Russell Brice unit which will protect them as best as possible. We get thieves, rogues, bullies everywhere, why not climbing (ref at Don Whillans from the 50's).

The book is too long, the subject too one-sides, repetitive and ultimately depressing. Problem with Everest is that since the first climb it has become a byword for success although it is not a technical climb at all. Unfortunately the best days are over and the great mountain may just attract the wrong people compared K2, Annapurna etc.
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