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High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places
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High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,871 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 17th 2000 by Simon Schuster (first published 1999)
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Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mountain-woe
Goodness, this guy is an jerk! The book opens in 1996 as the tragedy of that year is beginning to unfold. As I read, I found myself thinking, "Wow, this dude is awfully smug." I've read a lot of books about the 1996 disaster and of course some of them are very uncomplimentary towards Rob Hall & his actions. I’m not trying to be a Rob Hall apologist, the tone that David Breashears takes just makes him seem like a big-know-it-all. I found myself wondering if he really knew these people or if h ...more
OK, this book is not as rip-roaring as Krakauer's Into Thin Air, and yet it's an excellent insight into what makes a mountaineer tick. I was moved by Breashear's account of the Everest '96 disaster, and found his rendering of the survival of Beck Weathers perhaps even more moving than the account in Krakauer's masterful tome. Similarly moving was his account of the recovery of the camera containing the last picture of mountaineer Bruce Herrod, staring into the lens in triumph on the summit of Ev ...more
Sicher muss man sich generell für Bergsteigen, Höhenkletterei und das Drehen von Filmen dort interessieren, um von der Autobiographie David Breashears gefesselt zu werden. Natürlich ließ er sich wie andere seiner Kollegen beim Schreiben unter die Arme greifen, aber das Überprüfen nach Richtigkeit betrieb er sicherlich mit der gleichen Sorgfalt wie die Leitung seiner Expeditionen. Was mir besonders an seinem Buch gefällt, ist die Art und Weise, wie dem Laien Fachbegriffe und anderes Bergsteiger-L ...more
Susan Liston
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pretty darn good. I have a sneaky feeling that David Breashers might be more than a little arrogant, but these extreme mountain climber folk are definitely nuts, so it isn't too surprising if they are also a bit prickly or difficult. Or hard to be married to...."Oh by the way honey, did I mention I'm off to Pakistan to take pictures while hanging from a little rope 20,000 feet in the air? See you in four months if I don't fall." It's not just climbing that is so unfathomable to me, the traveling ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. Being a mini mountaineer, I was familiar with Breashears' climbing and photographic prowess. It was fun to learn about the man as he sees himself. I have heard of or know several of the people he climbed with, so I felt a connection to him and his story. I am from Denver so could relate to his climbs in Boulder. Occasionally I felt bogged down in all his camera and filming details but not enough to stop reading. David Breashears is in my opinion one of the finest mountaineers ...more
David Ward
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places by David Breashears (Simon & Shuster 2000)(Biography). This is the long-awaited biography of legendary mountaineer David Breashears. He is arguably the best high-altitude climber in the world today. This is the story of what drives his success; it includes a frank dissection of the 1996 tragedy on Everest and the subsequent rescue in which he was fully engaged. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 2010.
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Having read Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" several years back, I was probably overdue on this one. It's an amazing account of mountain climbing in general, Himalayan expeditions in particular, and Mount Everest intimately, especially the '96 tragedy. One can only hope to catch a furtive glimpse of the raw exposure such nearly insane adventurers endure. Not my cup of tea, but fascinating all the same. I think I need to re-read the Krakauer account again.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
His passion destroyed a remarkable marriage...............other then that he has lived his dream
Charlotte Elson
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting if you're interested in climbing, but there are other far more well-written accounts of mountain life than this. Breashears comes off as arrogant and occasionally sexist.

What is the human cost of mountaineering? And I don't mean a death toll. What happens when one's passion takes them to the heights of the world, risking injury and death, gone for months at a time? What effect does that have on relationships? There's a line from the chapter on the 1996 tragedy where Breashears write
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting book from David Breashears, best known (at least to me) as the IMAX Everest cinematographer. The book chronicles his life, especially focused on his development first as a climber and then as a cinematographer. The climax of the book is events on the disastrous 1996 Everest season, when the author was filming at Everest as the disaster unfolded. The book ends rather abruptly at that point, which I found disturbing and unfulfilling. The book has very little personal reflection (the au ...more
Chris Zeh
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent Everest book! I own a paperback copy, but I just finished the Audiobook version. The book focuses on Breashears career in climbing and film making and culminates in a behind the scenes look at the making of the 1998 IMAX Film about Everest (which was filmed during the disastrous 1996 season). A must read alongside Anatoli Boukreev's "The Climb", Ed Viesturs' "No Shortcut's to the Top" and Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air".
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Very exciting stories in here! Just confirmed my idea that I NEVER want to climb Everest, but am incredibly thankful for those brave people who have and have shared their incredible stories. Breashears is an excellent writer and I loved reading about his adventures.
Christine Yorty
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the book as another account of the climbing season
Hannah McEntire
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
His experience as a photographer...interesting perspective.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic autobiography of David Breashears the best cinematographer for high altitude climbing. He almost never did a high altitude climb without a movie camera and he was in charge of the IMAX Everest film that was filmed during the famous 1996 Everest season. In this autobiography, you get to learn many sides to his life in addition to the first-hand description of many fascinating high-altitude climbs. He was always driven to be a climber even as a child and was inspired by a picture of Tens ...more
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
It wasn't as compelling as I'd expected it to be. There are some interesting experiences chronicled within it, but I think the attempt (and failure) at delving more deeply into the author's/climber's psyche falls short: there's no real explanation given why he doesn't take his wife with him after the first couple trips, despite her obvious capabilities; and the long vignette about him working on the oil rigs that was supposed to make him understand his father better doesn't seem to have left any ...more
Mar 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read a fair number of reviews for High Exposure, most of which were quite favorable, I eagerly expected a different experience than the book delivered.

The overall flow of David Breashears’ personal biography was interesting and provided insight into behavioral aspects of a life that led to his being one of the top mountaineers in the world. But for me, the book lacked sufficient substance until towards the end; when he related the tragic experience and fatal events of the 1996 Everest IM
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it
High Exposure is somewhat of an autobiography about David Breashears' climbing life, as well as his answer to why he climbs. The story starts when he is a young boy with a violent father, and from there he becomes enamored with mountain climbing. All of his stories about the mountains he climbed were pretty entertaining, although after a while of reading they all started to run into each other and I couldn't remember which climb was which. Breashears does a good job of explaining climbing cultur ...more
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
In High Exposure, high altitude mountaineer and cinematographer David Breashears tells his story. While the book concentrates on Breashears' climbs, it also tells about his upbringing, and the path he travelled to become a professional climber. This information is interesting because the people who climb the world's highest mountains seem to be a breed apart, often causing those of us who enjoy reading of their exploits, but shiver when climbing a ladder, to wonder what makes them tick. Always, ...more
I was looking forward to reading David Breashears' High Exposure because his name had been mentioned many times in other mountaineering books I read and enjoyed.

However, this book dragged for me until he started writing about the IMAX filming that coincided with the infamous 1996 Everest disaster. I appreciated the extra tidbits of information from him that I didn't get from other books about the disaster.

I did enjoy reading about his early life, his family hardships, and how he started making a
Harold Carlson
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 4th or 5th book that I have read that touches on the 1996 tragedy on Everest. While the book is primarily the auto-biography of David Breashears he spends a lot of time writing about Everest because it is a big part in his life. I found his description of the events of 1996 to be the most interesting part of the book but it was all enjoyable reading.

At times I wanted to tell him how stupid he was. This was primarily regarding his marriage. One way to interpret his telling of the stor
Tim Swift
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid and thoughtful biography from a man whose given his life over to climbing and to mountain photography - the latter initially as a way to make it possible for him to climb. Starting with his early life, and the use of climbing and the outdoors as an escape from a violent and unpredictable father, there's many detailed descriptions of how he developed his skills as a climber before moving to his fascination, almost obsession, with Everest, focussing in particular on this descriptio ...more
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Having just read Ed Viesturs book about K2 whetted my appetite for more climbing stories. It's always interesting to hear how someone got involved in a sport, especially an inherently dangerous one like free climbing, ice climbing or high altitude climbing. Breashears' style of writing was very matter-of-fact, almost emotionless, unlike Viesturs' engaging passionate voice. Perhaps Breashears' passion for filming slightly overshadowed the huge accomplishments of high-altitude climbs. Whatever the ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you read "Into Thin Air" and were left wondering why anyone would risk their life to climb Everest you need to read this book. David sets the stage for the difference between an ethical climber who loves the sport and a climber for ego. Watched his IMAX movie before reading the book and so glad I did. Could really picture his descriptions and the challenges they faced to film it.
For me the most inspiring tale of all the tragedy is his description of Beck Weathers attitude coming down from th
David Breashears has made a name for himself as a methodical climber -- he isn't into dynamic leaps and jumps, but carefully plans each and every move as he scales mountain and rock. In a way, his autobiography "High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places" is the same. It's almost plodding and Breashears thoroughly examines his troubled childhood and the reasons that he is driven again and again to the challenges presented by Everest. I've read a lot of climbing memoirs ...more
keaton hoff
High Exposure is a book about a man and his team to film a IMAX about the climb up and the top of the legendary Mt. Everest. A IMAX movie is a movie in where you sit in a large theater like room and the screen wraps around you half way in sort of a dome shape so you need special equipment to shoot it. That was one of the reason i liked the book was that not only they had to climb the Mountain but also lug up heavy camera gear. A reader may not like the book because of the way it sort of rambles ...more
May 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
I almost didn't order this book because I've read so many books about climbing Mt. Everest but I'm glad I did. This was more a memoir - telling about his life, growing up, what made him tick, how he handled life, etc. And he became a photographer kind of by accident but it turned out he was really good at it. I felt badly for him that his relationship with his wife didn't work out because he was so busy all the time with his career that he didn't have time for her. Maybe that's the way he wanted ...more
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of many mountaineering books I'm reading at the moment (because they come so cheap in Nepal), this one is really a good read, gripping and entertaining. David Breashears tells his life story, a typical "mountain maniac" story - from climbing in Colorado as a teenager to his numerous Everest expeditions. He was able to make his passion his profession: He works as a high altitude cameraman and has famously shot the IMAX movie "Everest", in 1996, just when the catastrophe described by Jon Kraka ...more
Eddy Allen
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it

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
Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it
David Breashears has given us fantastic film footage of high altitude mountaineering. He led and directed the 1996 Everest IMAX filming expedition. If you've seen that, you most likely agree.

Unfortunately, much of the adventure writing of the late 20th Century (remember back then?) seems to be centered more on self-fulfillment and self-expression than anything outside the self. Why did Breashears push and sacrifice to be such an accomplished mountaineer? From the story, one concludes, "Because o
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“The stresses of high-altitude climbing reveal your true character; they unmask who you really are. You no longer have all the social graces to hide behind, to play roles. You are the essence of what you are.” 2 likes
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