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High Crimes - Mount Everest with its Dark Side

The dark side of Everest. The one never told you. With High Crimes,Michael Kodas weaves a well-documented canvas of the world's highest peak in the era of greed. Tales of men without faith or law, in a universe where the habit is rather mutual aid, self-denial, solidarity ... This is to say if we change context. To believe that the disease of heights literally seized the protagonists of this story, transforming them into thugs and vile crooks. 

The book reads like a very good thriller, while throwing a heavy block in the pond. Theft of equipment (ice axes, oxygen cylinder, food), cowardice (guides who abandon their client in difficulty, sentencing them to certain death), prostitution at the base camp, threats of all kinds. The high mountains do not avoid baseness.

Whiskey, drugs and prostitutes

Thus, the chilling story of this expedition: "More than 10 000 dollars in tents, ropes and oxygen bottles disappeared, before reappearing, hidden among the material of some of my companions in rope," the author. The sherpas, paid to accompany us to the summit, whose assistance was crucial to our success and survival, would extract thousands of dollars from us to continue their work, then abandon those of us who had paid them. 

Some mountaineers were drug dealers and smashed hashish, beer and whiskey every day over 6,000 meters above sea level. Prostitutes and pimps harangued mountaineers at base camp. ” And to finish,"Expedition members who attempted to oppose the criminal behavior of their teammates were persecuted by them, who prevented them from accessing group resources, denied them food, harassed them with stones and even ended up by brutalizing them ” .

Tragedies

Let us look at the story of the (supposedly) Argentine "guide" Gustavo Lisi and his unfortunate client Nils Antezana. Lisi, listening only to his courage, ended up abandoning his client at the top, explaining to the wife of the deceased that he too, the guide was sick, and that it was for this reason that he had let go of his client who would have said, "I want to stay here, the mountain is my home."

The tragedy experienced by David Sharp, trapped in the mountains, is also edifying. On their way to the top, more than forty people will pass in front of him without helping him - some will give him oxygen, however - which makes the author say: "For many, in the universe of madmen and carnage that is Everest, not assuming one's responsibilities is one of the keys to success. ” Cynical. But just.

The real drama is that this mountain becomes a line to add to a CV, for the "modest" sum of 65,000 euros. "Commercial expeditions, already accused of overpopulating the mountain and conspiring against independent mountaineers, are killing this sport," Kodas analyzes. Business flourishes, and with it, its faults. 

Thus, "most Everest guides who refused customers who did not have the skills, experience or money to climb the mountain found them in agencies that cut prices on Everest". 1986 and 1996, thus become two dark years, where the dead multiply, under the sun or in the storm, while a mountain blogger emphasizes that "the circus of Everest has become a cemetery".

Finn-Olaf Jones, journalist, who himself climbed Everest for Discovery.com, talks about the base camp that has become an "anthill". "Too much money floats in the air, like a cloud covering the mountain." And to conclude: “There is the madness caused by an exposure far too long to the rarefied air. To which we can add the disproportionate ego and the bruised individuals who came to seek some compensation in this dream landscape. ”

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