The Trials of Greg Mortenson

It’s been ten months since Jon Krakauer and 60 Minutes alleged that the star of Three Cups of Tea was a literary fraud who used the Central Asia Institute as a personal cash cow, prompting a civil suit and an investigation by Montana’s attorney general. Mortenson still isn’t talking. But the case is heating up, with important developments in the lawsuit and hints that the A.G.’s probe could go badly for CAI.
  1. On January 20, in a conference room at the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail, Colorado, a significant encounter took place, and it seemed like an unmistakable sign that the case against Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute (CAI) is ramping up.

    Representatives from CAI were in town to make a rare public appearance, one they hoped would be limited to discussion of the organization’s core mission: building schools in Central Asia. Mortenson and CAI, of course, are currently the focus of two major investigations—a civil suit alleging consumer fraud, and a probe by Montana’s attorney general into claims of mismanagement of a nonprofit—so it seemed likely that the controversy might be on the minds of some in the audience. To put it mildly, that turned out to be the case.

    Two people were there representing CAI: Karin Ronnow, the group’s communications director and a former reporter at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and photographer Ellen Jaskol. Together they staged a 90-minute talk, acco...

The complete text of “The Trials of Greg Mortenson” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Outside, March 2012

Great reading. Anywhere, any time

Subscribe to Byliner to finish this and thousands of other riveting stories for just $5.99 a month. Get started now with a 14 day FREE trial.

Join Today

Already a member? Sign in