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High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places Hardcover – May 10, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 10, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684853612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684853611
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

David Breashears has climbed Mt. Everest four times. For this, he is known as a world-class mountaineer. A lengthy career in documentary filmmaking--including the Imax film, Everest--has earned him wide acclaim and four Emmy awards. For this, he is known as one of the elite cinematographers in his field. But his new autobiography, High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Other High Places, proves he is more than a climber and a filmmaker; he is also an able writer.

Breashears has no lack of good material. We follow him through the stunning backdrops of Yosemite, Europe, Nepal, and Tibet, brushing up against triumphs and tragedies along the way. And while the nuts and bolts of his adventures are entertainment enough, his knack for building suspense and employing understated drama makes his autobiography read like a novel: "The morning was sunny and calm, and Rob looked as though he'd lain down on his side and fallen asleep. Around him the undisturbed snow sparkled in the sun. I stared at his bare left hand ... I wondered what a mountaineer with Rob's experience was doing without a glove."

Breashears also likes to remind his audience of humble beginnings surmounted: his early climbing days when he was known as "the kid," and a winter he spent sleeping under a sheet of plywood during the Wyoming oil boom when he was called "the worm." But mostly he documents his filmmaking career and climbing passion, both of which he approaches with an obsessive fervor. Readers interested in either pursuit will find High Exposure a fascinating traverse across the spine of the world. --Ben Tiffany

From Publishers Weekly

Possibly the most interesting aspect of this book is how improbable it seems that Breashears (Mountain Without Mercy) ever lived to write it. An accomplished alpinist, Breashears not only recounts his numerous, dicey ascents of the planets peaks but also explores his motivation for doing so. Though he is an experienced cinematographer whose past employers range from PBS to Hollywood, Breashears is most widely known as the director of the IMAX film Everest. While filming the movie, Breashears and his crew were fortunate to avoid the unforgiving storm at the mountains summit that led to the death of eight people and was chronicled in Jon Krakauers Into Thin Air. Breashears uses that tragic season on Everest as a frame for a personal memoir. The focus is on how he stepped out of the shadow of his violent military father and discovered his passions for climbing and filmmaking. Some of his psychology is simplistic, but there is no doubt that Breashears is as serious about understanding his actions as he is about succeeding in them. And there is no shortage of action, whether he is scaling a 1000-foot vertical rock or narrowly escaping being swept off a cliff by a runaway tonnage of snow. Though at times the book is self-aggrandizing, a little ego can be tolerated in this largely engrossing work, and is, perhaps, only to be expected from someone who has four times scrabbled up the ice and rocks of Everest to reach the top of the world. 16 pages full-color photos not seen by PW. Major ad/promo; appearances on Larry King Live and Today; first serial to Mens Journal.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book is hard to put down once you start to read it.
Lynda Pringle
Always with him is this sense of humor on the one hand, and a willingness to take risks that most of just would turn away from.
Barron Laycock
Mr. Breashears seemed to respect anyone who was trained and ready to climb a mountain such as Everest.
Savannah Collins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on October 22, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This first-hand account of the frightening and absolutely breath-talking adventures on the slopes of Mount Everest during the ill-fated 1996 American climbing expedition is terrific reading. Brashears, a professional cinematographer, had already climbed Everest previous to this expedition, and his prize-winning documentary IMAX film about the ascent of Everest is itself both entertaining and edifying, as it holds no punches regarding the reality of life on the mountain. Neither does this book, which certainly proves that the author has a future in journalism is he chooses to pursue it.
His colorful and well-written autobiography also does great service in helping those of us who prefer to have our adventure while sitting in the comfort of our reading room just what it is that draws people like him to the pursuit of mountaineering. Indeed, his gleeful enthusiasm is close to being contagious; this too is testimony to Brashears' ability to write convincingly and well. His approach is so colorful as to blur the lines between biography and fiction, and I often found myself having to remember that all this really did happen. It is that well written.
His beginnings, too, seem like the stuff of popular fiction; a childhood of humility and privation, his early exploits in climbing on a virtual shoestring, his wildcat days in the oil field, all seem to fit this persona that wangles his way into situations and then has the gumption, intelligence, and character to pull it all off. He progresses with climbs both domestically and internationally, finally reaching into Nepal and Tibet. Always with him is this sense of humor on the one hand, and a willingness to take risks that most of just would turn away from. One senses he is heading for even more danger and self-discovery.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book which draws you into David Breashears' world. You follow his development from young rock climber to world class mountaineer and filmmaker. You also see his development as a person, all while drawing you into that exclusive club of mountaineers. He makes you feel his passion for the mountains he so loves. You learn how he combined that passion with the art of cinematography, making him an award winning filmmaker.

You live through the 1996 tragedy on Everest with him, and feel the compassion that he has for those who died on the mountain under such tragic circumstances. The narrative is always compelling and informative, making the book a hard one to put down. His compassion and sensitivity towards those who did not fare well on the ill-fated 1996 Everest climb is palpable, and for his assistance to those who needed it, even though it put him and his expedition in jeopardy, he is truly an unsung hero. This is, without a doubt, a man who leads by example.

David Breashears writes beautifully of his experiences and his book is a must read for all climbing enthusiasts, as well as for those simply interested in the human condition. This is a book that is simply too good to pass up.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
What I found most fascinating about this book, his life, is the fact that Breashears manages to make a living out of his passion. Times were certainly hard for him in the beginning but he made it. Not only does he manage to make a living but in doing so combines his other passion (filming) with it, through this he gets to travel and see other cultures. As a European, now living in the US, I find this enviable. I am somewhat surprised that other reviewers are hung up on his failed marriage. While I certainly feel for his ex-wife (and him!), I see his father's disapperance as the great tragedy in his life and it reminded me of Jon Krakauer's theme in his book "Into the Wild".
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hayes on August 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Right off the bat, readers will notice that Breashears has a knack for writing. Whereas Greg Child's natural talent surfaces through his wit and humour, David's writing style shines in his ability to make you empathise with him on every occasion. He obviously posseses the determination of a climber, and the insight of a top-notch photographer/cinematographer.
Not only is the writing remarkable, but his life-story is absolutely fascinating. Many climbers have a fairly predictable story-line to their autobiographies, but Breashears' tale twists and turns as he juggles not only a climbing career, but a photographic and cinematic one as well.
Don't pass this one up. Stories from old-school climbers are fading, and Breashear's tale should certainly be acknowledged and preserved.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Susan_Hauck@MSN.Com on April 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
After reading Jon Krakauer's book 'Into Thin Air', like millions I became fasinated with the world of mountaining, and more importantly, the people which derive their passion from climbing. High Exposure looks deeply into this unique and private world. It doesn't just explore the disasters, in particular Everest - May 1996, but more importantly, allows the reader to feel the intense drive of the challenge in climbing and the excitement of the locations as told by someone who has experienced seemingly every aspect of the sport and built an incredeble career around it. Reading Breashear's words made me feel like I was on those mountains with him and his teams. You can feel his thrill of the challanges both personally and professionaly, his sense of loss from the tragegies experienced at Everest and else where, and his soul searching to find the path he needs to follow into his future. That his book ended after only 300 pages was the only disapointment. I wanted to stay on this climb for another 300 pages. BRAVO!
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