Thursday, October 01, 2009

High Crimes, by Michael Kodas

This audiobook was 11 hours and 23 minutes long, and was downloaded from Overdrive Audio through the Alachua County Library. It was narrated by Mark Deakins.

This book is part True Adventure and part Investigative Reporting. Like other books about recent climbs on Mt. Everest, it is a harrowing tale of well-off adventurers meeting the ultimate equalizer. These people pay up to $60,000 each to be taken on an attempt to summit Mt. Everest, and some never come back. Some return to have severely frostbitten fingers and toes amputated. It is a sobering look at what a dangerous proposition this trip can be.

If the mountain and the awful climate are not bad enough, Michael Kodas uncovers a dirty secret: the other people on the mountain can be just as dangerous. And they can also be a bunch of crooks.

In the past couple of decades, climbing Mount Everest and other 20K peaks has become a thriving business for some, and the rich climbers are the unwitting prey of others. Unscrupulous guides can abandon their meal ticket on the mountain after they have already been paid. Poor Sherpas may steal the supplementary oxygen canisters from rich climbers and resell them to other rich climbers, leaving the first climbers in peril. And angry guides, who don't like what you have siad about them on your blog, may want you to die. It's all enough to make you take up something safer, like lion-taming.

This was a thoroughly engrossing story about specific miscreants on the big mountain, and it was never boring. I give it 4 stars.

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