High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places Paperback – May 17 2000
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David Breashears has climbed Mt. Everest four times. For this, he is known as a world-class mountaineer. A lengthy career in documentary filmmaking--including the Imax film, Everest--has earned him wide acclaim and four Emmy awards. For this, he is known as one of the elite cinematographers in his field. But his new autobiography, High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Other High Places, proves he is more than a climber and a filmmaker; he is also an able writer.
Breashears has no lack of good material. We follow him through the stunning backdrops of Yosemite, Europe, Nepal, and Tibet, brushing up against triumphs and tragedies along the way. And while the nuts and bolts of his adventures are entertainment enough, his knack for building suspense and employing understated drama makes his autobiography read like a novel: "The morning was sunny and calm, and Rob looked as though he'd lain down on his side and fallen asleep. Around him the undisturbed snow sparkled in the sun. I stared at his bare left hand ... I wondered what a mountaineer with Rob's experience was doing without a glove."
Breashears also likes to remind his audience of humble beginnings surmounted: his early climbing days when he was known as "the kid," and a winter he spent sleeping under a sheet of plywood during the Wyoming oil boom when he was called "the worm." But mostly he documents his filmmaking career and climbing passion, both of which he approaches with an obsessive fervor. Readers interested in either pursuit will find High Exposure a fascinating traverse across the spine of the world. --Ben Tiffany --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Possibly the most interesting aspect of this book is how improbable it seems that Breashears (Mountain Without Mercy) ever lived to write it. An accomplished alpinist, Breashears not only recounts his numerous, dicey ascents of the planets peaks but also explores his motivation for doing so. Though he is an experienced cinematographer whose past employers range from PBS to Hollywood, Breashears is most widely known as the director of the IMAX film Everest. While filming the movie, Breashears and his crew were fortunate to avoid the unforgiving storm at the mountains summit that led to the death of eight people and was chronicled in Jon Krakauers Into Thin Air. Breashears uses that tragic season on Everest as a frame for a personal memoir. The focus is on how he stepped out of the shadow of his violent military father and discovered his passions for climbing and filmmaking. Some of his psychology is simplistic, but there is no doubt that Breashears is as serious about understanding his actions as he is about succeeding in them. And there is no shortage of action, whether he is scaling a 1000-foot vertical rock or narrowly escaping being swept off a cliff by a runaway tonnage of snow. Though at times the book is self-aggrandizing, a little ego can be tolerated in this largely engrossing work, and is, perhaps, only to be expected from someone who has four times scrabbled up the ice and rocks of Everest to reach the top of the world. 16 pages full-color photos not seen by PW. Major ad/promo; appearances on Larry King Live and Today; first serial to Mens Journal.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
He touches on many interesting aspects of various climbs he has made but they are better understood by reading the book rather than a review.
The best part of the book is the story of his climb of Everest for the IMAX film and his participation in the attempted rescue of the climbers stranded there in the disaster of 1996. There are better books that describe the disaster itself (see Krakauer or Bokoreev for example). But Breashears interest isn't in describing the events of the disaster as much as it is in trying to explain the desire to climb peaks like Everest while honoring those he knew who lost their lives in the disaster. The tale is both fascinating and heart rending.
This is a book that's hard to put down. While it stands well on its own, a reader who enjoys the book should take a look at the film that came out of it (Everest can be found in IMAX - it's best version - but also in a very good video version) and follow up with two different views of the disaster by two people who lived it: "Into Thin Air" and "The Climb."
Strangely, he talked much about his father, who appeared to be just an unpleasant distant memory, someone he had little feelings, yet he hardly mentioned his mother and how close was their relationship. He said that he had a great time with Veronique when working side by side with each other and he worked her very hard, but no details to illustrate. His marriage failure told much about a man whose passion for the mountains was much greater than his love for his wife. There is no right or wrong, everyone makes choices and bears the responsibility of such choices.
This book is about how a man became what and who he is now. It has much details on how he climbed higher each time and how his skills evolved to be who he is today. But if you want to see the man beyond his achievement, you only get some clues, which only whet your appetite for curiosity. Maybe that's the angle of the book, to focus on how and what he achieved, than on anything too personal.
enthralled by the photo of Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Everest which began a
lifelong attraction to Mount Everest that didn't end until 1997. After the family left a
harsh and abusive father (a career army officer), the family returned to Cheyenne,
Wyoming where the author attended public school and started to develop rock climbing
skills. The text narrates his development of rock climbing skill and describes several climbs
as he progressively made more difficult climbs. The author notes "In the American
climbing system, climbs are rated not only by the degree of difficulty....but also by length
and commitment...."and reveals that there is a well defined "pecking order" among rock
climbers with your climbing social position determined by the ratings of the climbs that
you have completed. While this may appear narrow minded and prejudiced, mutual trust
and respect between climbing partners is critical and the author notes "The most
fundamental aspects of climbing are trust, respect and self-reliance. A tacit understanding
with your companion is that you are experienced enough to know your limits and to not
After the family moved to Colorado, he wrecked his mother's car returning from a climb.
Needing money to repair the car, he worked in the Wyoming oil fields. While not directed
related to his climbing career, Breashears account of his oil field experience is intriguing.
However, he was glad to return home when spring arrived.
Over half of the text is devoted to his learning the art of film making and to his
increasingly more difficult climbing experiences.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I bought this book hoping to get another viewpoint on the 1996 Everest Tragedy that I first read about in Jon Krakauer's book, Into Thin Air. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Tyler Dixon
High Exposure by David Breashear, is about his life experiences that indulged him into attempting and doing the impossible. Read morePublished on May 31 2004 by Jona
I was gripped by Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and wanted another viewpoint on the 1996 tragedy. There is a bit in here about that but it is mostly All About David -- the... Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2003 by Gretchen
This is mostly an autobiography of David Breashears. But since he was one of the rescuer in the 1996 accident, this book is also a very good first hand account of how that tragedy... Read morePublished on April 1 2003 by Ryan Yeung
I developed a passion for reading true accounts of climbing Mount Everest when my brother accidently left his copy of "Into Thin Air". Read morePublished on Dec 9 2002 by Kat Holland
This book reads like an exciting diary, but no more. My problem with the book is that it never provides much context, much history. Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2002 by John C. Adams
Some people will say that David Breashears is trying to capitalize off the May '96 Everest disaster. No way. Read morePublished on March 4 2002 by Josh
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's well-written, and flows easily. It contains a nice mix of descriptions of Breashears climbing experiences, his feelings and motivations for his... Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2002
As a non-climbing fan of mountaineering stories who has read quite a few in the genre, I found Breashears story particularly compelling as much a true expression of his life as his... Read morePublished on Dec 2 2001 by Prof. Dragon
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