On Tuesday, the executive director of the American Alpine Club withdrew his defense of mountain climber and humanitarian Greg Mortenson, author of the controversial memoir Three Cups of Tea. Club head Phil Powers told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that AAC's lack of records of Mortenson climbs of Himalaya peaks Annapurna IV or Baruntse does strongly suggest that he lied about the ascents. Powers said Tuesday that former club editor H. Adams Carter had kept comprehensive records during the early 1990s, when Mortenson was active as a climber, in contrast to current record-keeping practices. That, Powers said, raises "serious questions" about Mortenson's climbing accomplishments. His record as a mountaineer has been under scrutiny since April when reports surfaced that he had fabricated large sections of Three Cups of Tea and mismanaged funds at his non-profit, the Central Asia Institute. Mortenson told Outside in April that those claims were overblown. A class-action lawsuit filed in Montana on behalf of Mortenson's readership is in limbo after the judge assigned to the case recused himself on Thursday after disclosing that he had bought and read the book. Three Cups of Tea appeared on the New York Times best-seller list for four years and has sold an estimated four million copies.
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