Monday, November 27, 2006

Book Review: HIGH EXPOSURE: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places - David Breashears and J.K

An old one:

This year in May, Indian Air force expedition lost Sqn Ldr Chaitanya, who never returned to the summit camp and my colleague from NIM (Nehru Institute Of Mountaineering) - Uttarkashi, Anupam, returned frost bitten from 8600m as his oxygen mask malfunctioned. I was following the progress of the expedition on a daily basis and even though IAF team managed to put three of the team members on the summit, the expedition was shadowed with loss of Sqn Ldr. Chaitanya and failure of the team to find him even after a prolonged search operation. I was so involved with the expedition, that it felt like a personal loss. I had either Camus or mountains to turn to. I headed to hills and did my "dealing" there and brought a copy of the "High Exposure" by David Breashers while returning back home.

"If I could be one tenth of the man that Beck Weathers was on that day, I'll be a very proud man", writes David Breashears about Beck Weathers, who after being given up for dead, not once, but thrice. He was still jovial and calm, as Breashers and Ed Viesturs, were getting him from camp 3 to 2 on Everest after the 1996 tragedy on Everest. In 1996 eleven people perished during the summit attempt at Everest. There has been a series of publications capturing the impressions of those who saw the tragedy unfold on that fateful day. "High Exposure" reveals Breashers view of the tragedy and so far is the most detached account of what happened on that day on the Everest.

David Breashers was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and discovered the love of climbing there. Growing up as a kid in 70s with a prodigious talent for climbing earned him the nick Kloberdanz kid early enough. While he honed his climbing skills in Yosemite, David was slowly unfolding his own vision of climbing. Working in Oil Fields, living in shacks, just to make enough money, such that he could keep climbing is as inspiring as it can get. David entered the Mecca of mountaineering, the Himalaya, as an assistant cameraman and realized that he had a love for both climbing as well as filming the mountains. The unique combination earned his keeping with various filming crews and he could be in Himalayas, mountaineering.

The high exposure covers a lot of space and time, from being raised by a violent short-tempered father and a caring mother, to the climbing whiz kid, an oilman, and a filmmaker to an acclaimed mountaineer. The journey from Colorado to Himalayas is written in an easy and candid manner of a mountaineer. Mountaineering is a very personal adventure, it is to see "how far can one go" having assumed that going "too far" is not universal. Moving on this edge of far and too far is what keeps mountaineers moving, the summit is a pause between these journeys.

David Breashers summited Everest for the 5th time last year at the age of 49, most recognize David from his 1996 IMAX movie on Everest. He resides in Boston, MA-U.S.A.

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