High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed
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High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,372 ratings  ·  224 reviews
High Crimes is journalist Michael Kodas's gripping account of life on top of the world--where man is every bit as deadly as Mother Nature. In the years following the publication of Into Thin Air, much has changed on Mount Everest. Among all the books documenting the glorious adventures in mountains around the world, none details how the recent infusion of wealthy climbers...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2008)
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Amar Pai
This guy tries a little too hard to expose the "seedy underbelly" of the Everest scene. In this book he recounts the drama behind both his own disastrous failed attempt to summit, and the drama of some others who ended up dead due to bad sherpa'ing, stolen equipment, etc. etc. Problem is he's an unreliable narrator; you never know if the people he's badmouthing are actually that bad, or if he's just a whiny useless sad sack. Little bit of A, little bit of B.

Nevertheless I did get sucked into th...more
Lori
May 15, 2008 Lori rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: armchair adventurers; Everest/mountaineering watchers; lovers of an engrossing, fast reads
Recommended to Lori by: NPR interview with author
A real page turner! Crime, selfishness, natural disasters, death, frostbite, summit fever...

I have two criticisms of this book that prevent me from giving it five stars. The first is its structure--Kodas chronicles two Everest summit attempts that take place in the same season but on different routes: his own Connecticut Everest expedition and the summit bid of Dr. Nils Antezana, an older climber. Chapters go back and forth between the two accounts--and not chronologically--with sidetracks into...more
Donald
Having read most any book I can find on mountaineering and Everest in particular, this one stands out. Like many, I read Krakauer's "Into Thin Air", which is a must read and starting place for anyone interested in Everest. Most other books on Everest are either not as well written or not as interesting. Kodas and Krakauer are both journalists first and mountaineers second, which in the end (I believe) produces an superior book.

Aside from being very well written, Kodas tells a climbing story that...more
James
When I started climbing I also started reading books about climbs and quickly noticed that the authors ALWAYS found villain's to castigate.

The author's behavior was always noble, generous, and beyond reproach.
But those other people!!!

This book is no different, the author thinks highly of himself,
but by his own admission he wouldn't let his team mates send even a single email through his internet connection.
Is that stingy, petty, or mean?

The structure of the book is horrible, the author tell...more
Janette Fleming
In 2004, journalist Michael Kodas joined local mountain climbers from home on an expedition to Mount Everest. He anticipated an exhilarating and arduous adventure among a group of like-minded idealists that he could report to his readers back in Connecticut. But on the Himalayan mountain, he discovered thieves, prostitutes, con men, and blackmailers. There were people who would do anything for a quick buck, or a guarantee of reaching the top. And some of them were on his own team.

Thieves stole
...more
Ian
Michael Kodas, who makes his living as a reporter and photojournalist with The Hartford Courant, focuses this book on his experience attempting to climb Mount Everest in 2004 as part of the Connecticut Everest Expedition, which included his wife and fellow journalist Carolyn Moreau, and Bolivian-born physician Nils Antezana, who successfully reached the summit of Everest but was later abandoned by his "guide," Argentinean Gustavo Lisi, and Sherpa's and perished on the mountain and occurred at th...more
Mazola1
High Crimes reads a bit like a failed attempt to climb Mount Everest. And indeed, that is what much of the book is about, various failed attempts to conquer the mountain, some merely discouraging and disappointing, others misbegotten and tragic. At times the book is compelling and absorbing, but at other times it gets tedious and boring. It covers a lot of the same ground over and over, seeming to go up and down, and then back up and down again. Some parts make quick and compelling reading while...more
LibraryCin
4.5 stars

Journalist Michael Kodas takes a look at how busy Everest is and the issues that have happened due to its popularity. Primarily, he is looking at the fraud and theft that happens there (plus more). The consequences of fraud and theft at Everest, though, versus anywhere else, can turn deadly.

Kodas climbed Everest in 2004 with a neighbour, George, their wives, and a few other people. Things turned sour very quickly. So, he describes his own experiences with that group, as well as recount...more
Chris
An in depth look at the varous issues surronding Everest. Professional reviewers have liken it to a sequel to Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. In many ways it is. Kodas is a little more damning than Nick Heil, but he does a very good job of fairness. It should be read with Heil's Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season.
Mia
This book has a lot of really great info that I think most "armchair mountaineers" don't think about, namely that greed is everywhere. And especially in a sport where there is little or no oversight, the opportunities for fraud are endless. Specifically in regard to Everest, Kodas talks about faulty oxygen containers, inexperienced guides, and demanding Sherpas which are critical for everyone to know. This book definitely has a check-list of what you want/need when mountaineering at high elevati...more
Selene
I am always a sucker for Mt Everest books, movies and tv shows. I never want to go there. Never. But I can't help but be fascinated by the horrible, terrible struggle that it is. Everyone's accounts of the suffering you experience from base camp on up is the same: illnesses that won't go away, headaches, vomiting or lack of appetite, inability to sleep, freezing temperatures (of course), and the constant risk of death from any of those sources plus a few others. But the climbers get it in their...more
William
interesting, shocking at times but choppy writing takes away from the story the author is trying to tell. I picked up High Crimes before a trip my son and I took to Nepal as background reading on the increasing commercial culture surrounding Mt Everest climbing/guiding. Kodas is a reporter for the Hartford Courant, and nearly half of the book relates a nearly disastrous experience he and his wife had on the 2004 Connecticut Everest Expedition. Team infighting, extremely poor leadership and greed...more
Michael
Worth reading in tandem with Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, the difference in the level of commercialism and volume of foot traffic from 1996 (Into Thin Air) and Kodas' attempts (2004 and 2006) is fascinating and frankly depressing - an excellent gift for a loved one who is interested in climbing Everest and you really, really want to discourage them ("Honey, let's just stick to Old Rag in the BlueRidge"). Kodas' focus is on the seedy, unregulated, environmentally and morally bankrupt side of com...more
Lorna Rose-hahn
Good writing and great investigative journalism. Eye-opening how modern technology, social pressures, and greed affect a once-pristine and sacred environment like Everest.
Rebekkila
I learned some interesting things about climbing Mount Everest. Apparently you only have to summit the mountain once to call yourself a guide, you don't have to be trained in rescue, Medical emergencies, or have avalanche training. Some one could carry you to the top once and you can be a guide. This probably goes a long way in explaining why there are so many deaths.
He discusses the theft on the mountain, many people have their camps raided while they are out and their equipment, survival gear...more
Misha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jack
I was a sophomore in high school when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited Everest. Back then, I thought I would like to attempt to summit Everest some day. Since then, I've done some modest summer and winter mountaineering in the lower 48. It gave me an appreciation of what mountaineering is all about. High Crimes highlights the fact that the ac4tivity on Everest is no longer mountaineering in the truest sense of the word. The book highlights the sad state of affairs that Everest clim...more
Angel
Reading this was like watching a drama. Have you seen vertical limit? I feel like some of the situations described in this book really got me hooked. It's shocking what the commercialization of Everest has done to what seems like the noble sport of climbing. There is no etiquette, there is no humanity... Or does it just allow humanity In all its "gloriousness" run rampant? Probably the latter.

The writing can be a bit tedious at times but the plot, pacing, and framework are done decently. The mu...more
Lynn
High Crimes is journalist Michael Kodas's gripping account of life on top of the world--where man is every bit as deadly as Mother Nature. In the years following the publication of Into Thin Air, much has changed on Mount Everest. Among all the books documenting the glorious adventures in mountains around the world, none details how the recent infusion of wealthy climbers is drawing crime to the highest place on the planet. The change is caused both by a tremendous boom in traffic, and a new cla...more
Nancy
Ok. This book settles it for me. I am officially not going to climb Mount Everest. Not if someone is going to steal my food and gear while I'm trying to summit or sell me faulty oxygen canisters or threaten to abandon me if I don't pay more money. This book was an eye-opening look at the Wild West- style of atmosphere that is Everest climbing these days. Like many, I read Into Thin Air some years ago and was fascinated by the whole business how people end up at the top of the world's highest pea...more
Carol
After watching the Discovery channel's documentary about Mt. Everest with my son, I became fascinated with the subject and wanted to read more. I have no desire to climb myself, well maybe to base camp 1 or 2, but no desire to summit.

This book tells about the corruption on Mt Everst. Stealing oxygen, sleeping bags, food, stoves, etc. All of which could be deadly if the thefts occur high on the mountain. He also tells of some "guides" who have no experience, or who are only there for the money to...more
Amerynth
It was really hard to decide whether I liked Michael Kodas' "High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed" or not. Ultimately, I found the book's problems detracted from my enjoyment of it.

On the good side, I found Kodas' expedition stories to be interesting and chock-full of good tidbits. The death of Nils Antezana seems particularly tragic and a good illustration of what summit fever can bring.

That said, I found the transitions between stories to be really jarring... I really disliked...more
Paul Pessolano
Mount Everest, the Goddess Mothe of the Universe, has been the subject of many books. The book most people equate to Everest is "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer that chronicles the 1996 death of eight climbers in a single storm.

Michael Kodas's book tells the story of what has happened on the mountain since that disaster. The mountain is no longer challanged by experienced climbers but anyone who has the money to attempt the climb, regardless of their ability. This has led to stealing, prostitutio...more
Eric_W
Mt. Everest has become a vast garbage dump. Persons of all persuasions, limitations (be the first without oxygen), handicaps (be the first asthmatic), ages (be the first over 70), and genders (the first transsexual – just kidding, at least so far) – if they have the funds – can pay an outfitter to get them to the summit. Some outfitters are better – and more reliable and honest – than others. Some steal supplies, others try to make it on the cheap. Base camps are now filled with prostitutes and...more
Leah
Welp, I'm definitely not climbing Mt Everest.

Aside from the fact that the author knows too many people named David who lack a distinct trait to tell them a part, I thought the book was an engaging, splashy look at the dark side of climbing Mt Everest.

I've never understood the hero worship of the people who make the summit. Yes, its very difficult, but they aren't advancing our knowledge of the world in any measurable way, or making it any better, they're just spending (I learned very large) pi...more
Gwnhwyfer
An exposé of the worst of human nature in a place that can very much kill you for the slightest error. The two main stories (the author's and Dr. Nils Antezana) were interesting and (in the case of the doctor's) heartbreaking (the guide was a sociopath, but if Antezana had been having misgivings before climbing, he could have walked away - hindsight is 20/20, but just saying).

However, the formatting of the book was horribly disjointed and very much detracted from the stories the author was tryi...more
Brian
Back in the early 1990's I was in desperate need of a roomate in order to hang on to an apartment I really liked. I was so desperate that when my good friend told me that his good friend needed a roomate I jumped at the chance. After all, if he was friends with my friend how bad could he be?

At first everything seemed all right...and then Chip started brining Colfax drug dealers home in the wee hours of the morning. He also didn't actually own his car. And he he left all his furniture in the apar...more
Lee Carlson
When I was seventeen years old, I had my first real mountaineering experience, when my parents sent me on a five-week Outward Bound trip in southern Colorado, because I was having adolescent growing pains: problems in school, at home, hanging out with the wrong crowd, etc. I learned rope work, climbing skills, etc., and we climbed several 14,000-ft. icy, snowy peaks. But most of all thanks to the mountains and their challenges I learned about myself and came home a changed young man. I immediate...more
Betty
Nov 02, 2008 Betty rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mountaineers, investigative reporting fans
Fascinating storylines but could be smoother

I thought the book was a real eye-opener, especially as a non-climber who revered Mt. Everest from afar. The content is shocking, disturbing and disillusioning. The book was well-written but in a manner that felt like a magazine expose', particularly in the progression of chapters. Although the author did give dates and places, they did not run in a smooth fashion. It would have helped to keep track of each storyline within the main story if there were...more
Kevin
The seamy side of Himalayan mountaineering – Lofty altitude – Corrupt attitudes

Michael Kodas offers a grim first-person account of malevolence at great heights. It’s not enough to fear the altitude, avalanche, hypoxia, pulmonary and cerebral edema, frostbite, crevasse fall, etc. There are so many different ways to die in high altitude mountaineering. We tend to think of lofty heights and lofty human heroics. Kodas offers vignettes of human evil in the form of indifferent guides who are in it ju...more
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“And when a boldly independent but woefully underequipped climber like David Sharp gets into trouble high on the mountain, everyone within range of helping will be faced with the same wrenching dilemma: give up on the dream they have spent thousands of dollars and months of suffering to achieve, to save someone who came underprepared—or leave him to his fate in order to stay focused on their own ambitions.” 0 likes
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