More Inaccuracies Found in Mortenson’s Accounts

by Dalton Main on April 28, 2011

New complaints have been raised against Greg Mortenson’s book “Three Cups of Tea”.  Outside Online, the magazine which had previously published Mortenson’s self-defense interview, is now calling into question his climbing record in the Himalayas as well as the possibility that he accidentally wandered into the village Korphe on his way down from K-2.

Mortenson’s book was first called into question when 60 Minutes revealed discrepancies in his story as well as the amount of money his charitable organization, The Central Asia Institute, had been spending on his travel fees and book promotions.  Jon Krakauer, an author and former mountain climber, then published a book called “Three Cups of Deceit”, which outlines the problems with Mortenson’s charity and the issues with his accounts of events.

In his book, Mortenson claims about half a dozen successful ascents in the Himalayas, prior to his failed attempt to summit K-2.  But Outside has found no records of these other climbing expeditions.  The magazine cites an archivist named Elizabeth Hawley.  The 87 year old woman keeps thorough records of all Nepalese Climbing trips. Her database includes 7,194 expeditions.  The Outside blog post, titled “You Can’t Get There From Here”, says there is little chance that Hawley would have missed all of his expeditions, especially since there were far fewer expeditions in 1994 than today.

Furthermore, Outside posted a map with excerpts from Mortenson’s tale marking the places he says he went.  The article claims that Mortenson’s path is not possible and cites a Youtube slide show by Mortenson’s co-author David Oliver Relin, which shows a photograph of a bride that Relin says Mortenson crossed on his way over the Braldu river to Korphe.  However, Outside notes that this bridge is actually a famous structure over the Biafo Glacier stream which does not lead to the side of the Braldu river where Korphe lies.

The University of Louisville has chosen Mortenson as the recipient of the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Education.  He is slated to speak at the University in September when he will receive the award.  Official from the school have not made any changes to their decision.  They are awaiting the results of inquiries launched by the attorney general of Montana as well as Mortenson’s publisher.

WFPL’s Graham Shelby will talk with Erik Reece about creative non-fiction and story telling during Here and Now This afternoon.

Comments Closed

Previous post:

Next post: