High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places

by David Breashears

Other authorsJon Krakauer (Foreword)
Hardcover, 1999

Call number




Simon & Schuster (1999), Edition: 1st, 320 pages


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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member dcoward
This book is a cut above most climbing memoirs. In many memoirs by people who have lived interesting lives but might not be natural writers, I find myself nodding off when they turn to their childhood, or, in climbing memoirs, the details of each climb they've ever taken. This was not a problem with Breashears' book, which also gives his own balanced glimse of the 1996 Everest disaster chronicled in "Into Thin Air".… (more)
LibraryThing member smg626
This story of an Everest expedition gives the more graphic details of the fatalities that beset the May 1996 crew. David's film team saw many climbers (and Sherpas) that died in attemps to climb and descend the mountain. He also gives accounts of returning to the mountain a year later to retrieve items from the body of friends. One erie account tells of retrieving a camera from the still attached backpack of his friend, Bruce, which afterwards a crew member cuts the cord that allows Bruce's body to disappear into the abyss. Many who have read this particular account find it hard to believe that with the deadly storm, David's crew survived. As an Alex Award winner in 2000, this book has great appeal to young mountaineers.… (more)
LibraryThing member beau.p.laurence
one of the several autobiographies from the deadliest season of Mt Everest ever. this one is by the man who created the IMAX film "Everest" who actually abandoned his filming to help in rescues efforts (and who then returned the following year to finish the film). interesting both as a travelogue and an autobiography, as Breashears writes about his own urge to return to the place that killed so many others, essentially while he watched.… (more)
LibraryThing member riverwillow
This is an interesting biography. David Breashears is probably best known to the general public for his documentaries about Everest and for his involvement in the 1996 storm on Everest. But he is so much more than this, from a childhood dominated by his troubled, and ultimately fractured relationship with his father, through his early rock and climbing days, and his introduction to filming climbing documentaries and his later work on documentaries and big Hollywood movies, he documents a life dominated by climbing. His writing is assured and evokes both the risks and the rewards of climbing, his descriptions of the various deaths and near-death experiences he has witnessed while in the mountains is pratical and poignant. Importantly his description of the events on Everest in May 1996 is yet another accounting helping this armchair reader to a deeper understanding of just what might have happened.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jen42
I read this because of my interest in Everest after reading The Lost Explorer and Ghosts of Everest. This is a broader book, in that it is about more than Everest, but it is a great read and a fascinating look into the mind of a climber.
LibraryThing member FireandIce
While reading this book I came to respect David Breashears, but I just couldn't bring myself to like him. This autobiography recounts his troubled childhood, his romance with the mountains, his introduction to film-making, and some of the incredible events of his life. Somewhere along the line, he ends up portraying himself not as a mountaineering purist with a serious belief in safety, but rather as a condescending control freak. That's where he kind of lost me. I found the chapters regarding the '96 tragedy on Everest to be the most interesting, but I still feel that Jon Krakauer's narrative was more engaging.… (more)
LibraryThing member whwatson
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 IMAX filming expedition. This section was personal, griping, and stirred up emotions even though I had previously read Into Thin Air and other similar accounts.

Prior to that section the book seemed more like brief separated, but concurrent, snap shots in time, and in many cases the reader was left to fill in and imagine the details. Not to say there weren’t a few instances where one could picture the vertical world of precariously hanging onto a slab of rock straight up hundreds or thousands of feet from safety. However, for me they were too few.

Once having finished the book I was also led to wonder what has happened to this individual in the ensuing timeframe. I plan to Google the subject. Seems an interesting follow-up having read how single minded and focused he was on his own ambitions and agenda and of his disastrous marriage attempt. What has time and loss of youth changed or influenced?
… (more)
LibraryThing member amerynth
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 and this one didn't particularly thrill me-- it was a little too bogged down in detail and became a really slow read. The final chapters about the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest were better, but came too late for me to truly enjoy the book. I came away admiring Breashers for what he has overcome but with a sense that he is a very unlikeable person. Is it possible for an autobiography to be too honest? That may be the problem in this case.… (more)




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