High Crimes

Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, High Crimes, the account of an Everest ascent, effectively strips the journey of all sentiment. During his 2004 expedition, Pulitzer-winning journalist Michael Kodas finds the slopes of the famed mountain rife with theft and drug use. Equipment vanishes. Steroid use is rampant. Money-hungry guides take on ill-prepared climbers, then leave them to their fates in the unforgiving terrain near the top. (Kodas also claims some seasoned mountaineers ignore the dying, so eager are they to plant their flags at the summit.) Kodas forever dispels whatever romantic ideas readers may hold about the great Himalayan peak. A-

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