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High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places [Paperback]

David Breashears , Jon Krakauer
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 17 2000
For generations of resolute adventurers, from George Mallory to Sir Edmund Hillary to Jon Krakauer, Mount Everest and the world's other greatest peaks have provided the ultimate testing ground. But the question remains: Why climb? In High Exposure, elite mountaineer and acclaimed Everest filmmaker David Breashears answers with an intimate and captivating look at his life.
For Breashears, climbing has never been a question of risk taking: Rather, it is the pursuit of excellence and a quest for self-knowledge. Danger comes, he argues, when ambition blinds reason. The stories this world-class climber and great adventurer tells will surprise you -- from discussions of competitiveness on the heights to a frank description of the 1996 Everest tragedy.

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High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places + The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest + Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak
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From Amazon

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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As mountain climber, I've always felt more drawn to the top than driven from the bottom. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life in the Moutains May 22 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall this was a good book about one man's life in the mountains.He brings to the pages a passion most people would envy in their jobs.His discriptions of the places he has been and the climbs he has made are very vivid.As someone who is interested in everything Everest I really enjoyed his narratives of his climbs on the mountain especially his account of the 1996 tragedy.The only thing I didn't like was the author seemed to be a little self agrandizing at times.He seemed to like putting himself at the fore front of most expeditions regardless of his place on said expeditions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Climbing book April 10 2003
David Breashears writes a fascinating book on climbing that will appeal to those who climb, those who aspire to climb and those who live out their fantasies of climbing through others exploits. The book outlines his background and growth as a climber and describes his love for the sport from the time of his youth.
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."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great to read how he became who he is Nov. 5 2002
By Kelly
The book focus on and has greater depth in the subject of climbing and filming. It felt a little too narrative and superficial sometime. One aspect I find lacking is the expression of his feelings and character. We know that David is not perfect, he admitted to be very demanding and could be rather explosive in temperament. But we do not get much insight on that but have to read between the lines to find out.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT Sept. 25 2001
This is David Breashears' autobiographical account of his life. At age twelve he became
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
endanger others."
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Ok
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 more
Published 5 months ago by Tyler Dixon
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
High Exposure by David Breashear, is about his life experiences that indulged him into attempting and doing the impossible. Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by Jona
1.0 out of 5 stars It's All About David
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 more
Published on Aug. 26 2003 by Gretchen
5.0 out of 5 stars Good report on the 1996 incident
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 more
Published on April 1 2003 by Ryan Yeung
3.0 out of 5 stars Breashears is a bit much.
I developed a passion for reading true accounts of climbing Mount Everest when my brother accidently left his copy of "Into Thin Air". Read more
Published on Dec 9 2002 by Kat Holland
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting stories, weak context
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 more
Published on Aug. 26 2002 by John C. Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Some people will say that David Breashears is trying to capitalize off the May '96 Everest disaster. No way. Read more
Published on March 4 2002 by Josh
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
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 more
Published on Jan. 30 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Scaling the Inner Peaks
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 more
Published on Dec 2 2001 by Prof. Dragon
4.0 out of 5 stars Realising your dreams
This is a good book about somebody who ends up in life doing just what he wants to, to climb and film. Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2001 by Tollo
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