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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

4.3 605
by Jon Krakauer

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Into Thin Air is the definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Mount Everest -- told by acclaimed journalist, and bestselling author of Into the Wild and Eiger Dreams, Jon Krakauer. On assignment for Outside magazine, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas to report on the growing


Into Thin Air is the definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Mount Everest -- told by acclaimed journalist, and bestselling author of Into the Wild and Eiger Dreams, Jon Krakauer. On assignment for Outside magazine, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas to report on the growing commercialization of the planet's highest mountain. When he reached the summit in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn't slept in over 57 hours and was reeling from oxygen depletion. Twenty other climbers were pushing for the summit, and no one had noticed the clouds filling the sky. Six hours later, and 3,000 feet lower, Krakauer collapsed in his tent. The next morning he learned that six of the climbers hadn't made it back. Even though one climber in four dies attempting to reach the summit, business is booming as guides take the rich and the adventurous up the mountain for a fee of $65,000. Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people -- including himself -- to throw caution to the wind and willingly subject themselves to so much danger, hardship, and expense.Written with emotional clarity, Krakauer's account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.

Editorial Reviews

A powerful, cautionary tale of adventure gone horribly wrong, Into Thin Air became an instant bestseller upon publication. A childhood dream of some day ascending Mt. Everest, a lifelong love of climbing, and an expense account all propelled writer Jon Krakauer to the top of the Himalayas in May 1996. With a guide claiming "We've got the mountain wired," Krakauer found that for 65 grand, you could climb the world's tallest peak. This hubris, and a freak storm, claimed the lives of seven members of his expedition, and narrowly avoided killing Krakauer and many more.
Entertainment Weekly
Wrenching. . .lucid. ..it is impossible to read this book unmoved.
Michiko Kakutani
A compelling chronicle of bad luck, bad judgment, and doomed heroism.
New York Times
Galen Rowell
Ranks among the great adventure books of all time. -- The Wall Street Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What set out to be a magazine article on top-of-the-line tours that promise safe ascents of Mt. Everest to amateur climbers has become a gripping story of a 1996 expedition gone awry and of the ensuing disaster that killed two top guides, a sherpa and several clients. "Climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain," writes Krakauer (Into the Wild). "And in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium and suffering... most of us were probably seeking, above all else, something like a state of grace." High-altitude climbers are an eccentric breedOlympian idealists, dreamers, consummate sportsmen, egomaniacs and thrill-seekers. Excerpts from the writings of several of the best-known of them, including Sir Edmund Hillary, kick off Krakauer's intense reports on each leg of the ill-fated expedition. His own descriptions of the splendid landscape are exhilarating. Survival on Mt. Everest in the "Dead Zone" above 25,000 feet demands incredible self-reliance, responsible guides, supplemental oxygen and ideal weather conditions. The margin of error is nil and marketplace priorities can lead to disaster; and so Krakauer criticizes the commercialization of mountaineering. But while his reports of guides' bad judgments are disturbing, they evoke in him and in the reader more compassion than wrath, for, in the Dead Zone, experts lose their wits nearly as easily as novices. The intensity of the tragedy is haunting, and Krakauer's graphic writing drives it home: one survivor's face "was hideously swollen; splotches of deep, ink-black frostbite covered his nose and cheeks." On the sacred mountain Sagarmatha, the Nepalese name for Everest, the frozen corpses of fallen climbers spot the windswept routes; they will never be buried, but in this superb adventure tale they have found a fitting monument.
Library Journal
On May 19, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay achieved the impossible, becoming the first men to stand on top of Mount Everest. But by May 10, 1996, climbing the 29,000-foot 'goddess of the sky' had become almost routine; commercial expeditions now littered Everest's flanks. Accepting an assignment from Outside magazine to investigate whether it was safe for wealthy amateur climbers to tackle the mountain, Krakauer joined an expedition guided by New Zealander Rob Hall. But Krakauer got more than he bargained for, when on Summit Day a blinding snowstorm caught four groups on the mountain's peaks. While Krakauer made it back to camp, eight others died, including Scott Fischer and Hall, two of the world's best mountaineers. Devastated by the disaster, Krakauer has written this compelling and harrowing account (expanded from his Outside article) as a cathartic act, hoping it 'might purge Everest from [his] life.' But after finishing this raw, emotionally intense book, readers will be haunted, as Krakauer was, by the tragedy.
—Wilda Williams
School Library Journal
Heroism and sacrifice triumph over foolishness, fatal error, and human frailty in this bone-chilling narrative in which the author recounts his experiences on last year's ill-fated, deadly climb. Thrilling armchair reading.
Alastair Scott
Krakauer's chronicle, selected as one of the best books of the year by the editors of the Book Review, has "a lucid and terrifying intimacy." -- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
And onto thin ice—Krakauer's hypnotic, rattling, first-hand account of a commercial expedition up Mt. Everest that went 'way wrong. In the spring of 1996, Krakauer took an assignment from Outside magazine to report on the burgeoning industry of commercially guided, high-altitude climbing. Many experienced alpinists were dismayed that the fabled 8,000-meter summits were simply 'being sold to rich parvenues' with neither climbing grace nor talent, but possessed of colossal egos. From childhood, Krakauer had wanted to climb Everest; he was an expert on rock and ice, although he had never sojourned at Himalayan altitudes. While it has become popular to consider climbing Everest a lark and the South Col approach little more than a yak route, Krakauer found the altitude a malicious force that turned his blood to sludge and his extremities to wood, that ate his brain cells. Much of the time he lived in a hypoxic stupor, despite the standard acclimatization he underwent.

As he tells of his own struggles, he plaits his tale with stories of his climbing comrades, describes the often outrageous characters on other expeditions, and details the history of Everest exploration. The writing builds eerily, portentously to the summit day, fingering little glitches that were piling up, 'a slow accrual, compounding imperceptibly, steadily toward critical mass,' when a rogue storm overtook the climbers; typical by Everest standards, it was ferocious in the extreme. Time collapses as, minute-by-minute, Krakauer rivetingly and movingly chronicles what ensued, much of which is near agony to read. Unjustly, Krakauer holds himself culpable for aspects of the disaster, but this book will serve animportant purpose if it gives even one person pause before tackling Everest.

From the Publisher
"Into Thin Air ranks among the great adventure books of all time . . . a book of rare eloquence and power that could remain relevant for centuries."
--Galen Rowell, The Wall Street Journal

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Demco Media
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.12(w) x 7.16(h) x 1.35(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

In March 1996, Outside Magazine sent me to Nepal to participate in, and write about, a guided ascent of Mount Everest. I went as one of eight clients on an expedition led by a well-known guide from New Zealand named Rob Hall. On May 10 I arrived on top of the mountain, but the summit came at a terrible cost.

Among my five teammates who reached the top, four, including Hall, perished in a rogue storm that blew in without warning while we were still high on the peak. By the time I'd descended to Base Camp nine climbers from four expeditions were dead, and three more lives would be lost before the month was out.

The expedition left me badly shaken, and the article was difficult to write. Nevertheless, five weeks after I returned from Nepal I delivered a manuscript to Outside, and it was published in the September issue of the magazine. Upon its completion I attempted to put Everest out of my mind and get on with my life, but that turned out to be impossible. Through a fog of messy emotions, I continued trying to make sense of what had happened up there, and I obsessively mulled the circumstances of my companions' deaths.

The Outside piece was as accurate as I could make it under the circumstances, but my deadline had been unforgiving, the sequence of events had been frustratingly complex, and the memories of the survivors had been badly distorted by exhaustion, oxygen depletion, and shock. At one point during my research I asked three other people to recount an incident all four of us had witnessed high on the mountain, and one of us could agree on such crucial facts as the time, what had been said, or even who had been present. Within days afterthe Outside article went to press, I discovered that a few of the details I'd reported were in error. Most were minor inaccuracies of the sort that inevitably creep into works of deadline journalism, but one of my blunders was in no sense minor, and it had a devastating impact on the friends and family of one of the victims.

Only slightly less disconcerting than the article's factual errors was the material that necessarily had to be omitted for lack of space. Mark Bryant, the editor of Outside, and Larry Burke, the publisher, had given me an extraordinary amount of room to tell the story: they ran the piece at 17,000 words—four or five times as long as a typical magazine feature. Even so, I felt that it was much too abbreviated to do justice to the tragedy. The Everest climb had rocked my life to its core, and it became desperately important for me to record the events in complete detail, unconstrained by a limited number of column inches. This book is the fruit of that compulsion.

The staggering unreliability of the human mind at high altitude made the research problematic. To avoid relying excessively on my own perceptions, I interviewed most of the protagonists at great length and on multiple occasions. When possible I also corroborated details with radio logs maintained by people at Base Camp, where clear thought wasn't in such short supply. Readers familiar with the Outside article may notice discrepancies between certain details (primarily matters of time) reported in the magazine and those reported in the book; the revisions reflect new information that has come to light since publication of the magazine piece.

Several authors and editors I respect counseled me not to write the book as quickly as I did; they urged me to wait two or three years and put some distance between me and the expedition in order to gain some crucial perspective. Their advice was sound, but in the end I ignored it—mostly because what happened on the mountain was gnawing my guts out. I thought that writing the book might purge Everest from my life.

It hasn't, of course. Moreover, I agree that readers are often poorly served when an author writes as an act of catharsis, as I have done here. But I hoped something would be gained by spilling my soul in the calamity's immediate aftermath, in the roil and torment of the moment. I wanted my account to have a raw, ruthless sort of honesty that seemed in danger of leaching away with the passage of time and the dissipation of anguish.

Some of the same people who warned me against writing hastily had also cautioned me against going to Everest in the first place. There were many, many fine reasons not to go, but attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act—a triumph of desire over sensibility. Any person who would seriously consider it is almost by definition beyond the sway of reasoned argument.

The plain truth is that I knew better but went to Everest anyway. And in doing so I was a party to the death of good people, which is something that is apt to remain on my conscience for a very long time.

From the Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Jon Krakauer, author of three books, including the acclaimed bestseller Into the Wild, is a contributing editor of Outside Magazine.  He and his wife live in Seattle.

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Into Thin Air 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 606 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mount Everest is the highest mountain on the planet with its summit at 29,028 feet above sea level. Since it was first summited on June 2, 1953, many have succeeded, while others have died trying to conquer this peak. These days, many guiding companies have enabled just about anyone with a little climbing experience to climb Everest. Because of this, more and more controversies have risen out of the decisions made on top of the world. The events on Everest, especially during the 1996 climbing season, make one wonder if summiting the mountain is worth all the suffering and death that it can bring with it. Into Thin Air is a gripping story about survival and death, all caused by the tallest mountain in the world. The novel is a personal account by Jon Krakauer, who, at the time of the incident, was a journalist for Outside Magazine. It tells the story of his ascension and summiting of Mount Everest that was soon followed by a storm that killed eight people, including Rob Hall, a very experienced mountain climbing guide. This storm helped to make 1996 the most deadly year on Mount Everest. Krakauer goes into great detail about the history of climbing on Everest, the occurrences of May 10, 1996, and the controversy that surrounds the events. Throughout, he analyzes the themes of death and survival, while looking at the mountain climbing community’s varying beliefs on these ideas. He makes the reader question his or her own beliefs on these subjects as well. While he tells a great story, Krakauer does go into very great detail on everything in the novel. This makes for a very vivid and easily understood story, but at certain points, there is too much detail including facts about things that seem totally unrelated to the novel. However, Krakauer’s ability to connect his in-depth knowledge and personal mountain climbing and journalist experiences to the novel allow him a little leeway, when it comes to his overuse of detail. This book is recommended strongly to anyone who wants to read a story about mountain climbing, especially one that is true and keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat the entire time. Even someone who isn’t involved in the climbing community can find this book to be very interesting and exciting. Krakauer has the ability to bring a reader directly into an experience, as found in his other works including Into the Wild or Under the Banner of Heaven. Into Thin Air is one of the best books that I have read and if I was to rate it, it would definitely be a nine out of ten. Another great story about mountain climbing and survival can be found in the book Touching the Void.
WI-mom4 More than 1 year ago
To begin, I am not a mountaineer, have no desire to climb a mountain, and believe there are some places mortal men/women have no business being (29,000ft up the side the mountain included). With that said, I enjoyed this book very much. Understanding that it is human nature to push our physical limitations and to attempt the impossible, this story was compelling to read, kept my attention and cultivated a sideline interest for the impossible mountains men dare to climb. The side stories are interesting and give a lot to the story. The tragedy and the events leading up to it are well described and give a personal feeling that helps the reader understand and "feel" for the players of the story. Krakauer does a good job in describing the characters, giving the personal backgrounds to help readers understand the personal drives for this near impossible feat, and accounting for the "edge" that contributed to the unfortunate outcome.
TunaSF More than 1 year ago
I have watched many Everest documentaries, but this was an excellent view into the emotional and physical trauma that Everest puts on climbers. The description of the trip up to Everest was enlightening. Then the excellent descriptions and details of the landscape, base camp,the guides, Sherpas, and different teams was very interesting. It was a page turner. I wanted to read more and find out how the disaster happened. I was left with a deep feeling of sadness towards the author and the guilt he is living with. I hope that he has moved on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
..of the highest point on Earth. Jon Krakauer takes you there weaving together multiple perspectives in such a way that enhances the suspense of his first person narrative. Definitely a great read, that last hundred pages will keep you glued. What I liked most is Krakauer sense of journalism and his efforts to report unbiased information without an agenda. It is clear he went through great effort to gather as much information to tell the story as close to how it happened, attempting to account for differences of perspective and reporting to you, the reader, those differences and giving a post-mortem analysis. Truly a great read that will having you stuck in awe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fanstastic account of the tragedy on Mount Everest. I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Into Thin Air takes the elements that are paired with climbing the treacherous Mount Everest and fuses them with desire of a climbing team bound to reach the summit. Jon Krakauer experiences the dangers of Everest first hand while being led by Rob Hall, a well-known guide from New Zealand. Krakauer describes the difficulties of climbing with such detail that you feel as though you’re a part of the life changing expedition. Krakauer was sent to climb Everest for Outside Magazine and soon after provide an in depth article for the editor. He and seven other clients were anxious to ascend Everest, yet didn’t quite understand the daunting task that lied ahead of them. The only part of the book that didn’t appeal to me was the beginning. There is plenty of background information about the history of Mount Everest, almost too much. It starts to really get interesting when Krakauer is asked to attend the expedition. Krakauer mentions it has always been his dream to stand on top of the world and was rightfully determined to do so. He puts the complex memories of watching some of friends die into words very well. His ability to even put events like that into words is incredible. The most impressive part of Krakauer’s writing style is such in depth explanation about events happening in the book. He adds the grueling affect that you need to fully understand the crux of the book. Krakauer basically helps you imagine the unimaginable. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes challenging non-fiction books. I would give this book a 9 because of the story alone, but also the complex detail that comes with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An Awe Inspiring Read The book, Into Thin Air, written by Jon Krakaur, is a thrilling tale of one man’s journey up Everest. The author was sent out to climb Everest sponsored by Outdoor magazine and report back the results. He found that the short article requested of him in the magazine was just not enough to document the disaster on top of the world, so he wrote this boo. For me, the book went to show just how powerful Everest really is, and how the popularization of climbing it might be overrated. I enjoyed it and found the writing to be thought-provoking and flowing. I liked how the storyline basically went from the first time he ever made it up a mountain to after he made it down Everest. The character development in the story is excellent; it went to the point that I could practically visualize every character’s appearance and actions. One thing I also enjoyed about this was the author’s attention to detail and telling it just how it was. Even months after the expedition, Krakaur was still conducting interviews with other climbers who were on Everest at the same time he was. These small things add a lot to the overall feel of the book. He also was not afraid to give his opinions on people, something you don’t see often in writers. This lead to being able to tell almost exactly how each person was. I thought the depth that the author discussed his experience told a lot about how cruel and unpredictable Everest really is. It went into great detail just how unforgiving and dangerous it can get up there in a storm, even how some of his companions he had gotten to know over the weeks lost their lives. This book discusses many themes, including life and death, heroism, journey, survival, and individualism. It really makes you think about how precious life is, and how it can be taken away just like that. I would defiantly recommend this book to anyone looking to read a story about adventure, risks, and companionship. This book is sure to touch any other climbers out there also. I really feel like I began to understand Everest a lot more after this, as well as Himalayan culture. There are many things that can only be learned though personal account or experience, and this is defiantly one of those. After reading this book, I am considering reading some of Krakauer’s other works, just because I feel he tells a tale well. These include Into the Wild, as well as several articles in Outside magazine. Overall, I would give this book a nine out of ten.
Farmer2 More than 1 year ago
This book is very unusual and Jon Krakauer depicts every events in his style which is very interesting. It's an offbeat book that keeps twisting and turning and toward the end you never know what is going to happen next. Jon and all of the people go through alot and he tells the story very well.
GerreK More than 1 year ago
I have read this story over and again since it was released, and it is always riveting. The author does a fantastic job of putting one in the middle of the chaos and emotion of this experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book, I enjoyed it even though I am a teenage girl who never has and never will go climbing up a mountain. Let alone Mt. Everest. I'm glad I picked up this book, at first I didn't really know what it was about (hints the title. That was pretty much my thought process as I looked at the book) It was good! I really like how everything was described. The details about the dangers of climbing the worlds tallest mountain. I didn't like that, the whole time I was reading it, I felt like the narrator was talking/thinking in an angry tone. That's how I imagined them to sound like. This book was pretty much about the author -Jon Krakauer- climbing up Mt. Everest during the worst season Mt. Everest has ever had. I would suggest this book to anyone who really loves to climb mountains, likes the cold or a mixture of the two. Or, if you have a friend that wants to climb Mt. Everest and you want to talk them out of it. Just have them read this book... Might make them change their mind. I know it would change mine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looking Everest in the Eye Into thin Air is a personal account of Jon Krakauer who took on the ambitious task of climbing Mt. Everest. Despite the fact that he is climbing with one of the best guides in the business, the group still faces the many personalities of Mt. Everest. Having not slept for 57 hours straight, and suffering everyday from oxygen depletion Jon manages to reach the summit of Everest. He was the first to reach the summit but to his dismay he saw frightening storm clouds on the horizon. This would cause a messy end to what started out as an unforgettable journey. Throughout the book Jon writes a lot about the trials he faces and his thoughts while experiencing them. For instance Jon endures the brutality of acclimatization at one point he had such a pounding headache he slept for 6 hours in order to relieve the pain. He knew how hard change would be but despite all of his doubts he was able to power through which brought to surface a new man, a man ready to face life and all of its obstacles. A constant theme throughout the book is teamwork everything you do on Everest is done working with someone or working beside someone and the climb is going to be much harder going at it solo. In order to climb Jon had to prepare; and much of his book is focused on the important role preparation plays in taking on such a task. On top of the material preparation there comes physical preparation. Fitness plays a big role in Into Thin Air, and when I say fitness I don't mean just physical but mental too. Jon learns first hand that your mental fitness is half the battle, if you want to complete the climb and still be alive to tell about it in the end. Into Thin air is a story of epic proportion unfortunately there’s always something in a story that people are just going to dislike and for me that thing was the build up. Now this may make me seem completely insane for basically saying I dislike a good portion of this book but listen to what I have to say. The main reason why I disliked the build up was one, because I felt like it was never going to end, I was almost sure I would make it to graduation before I finished the build up. Number two is that I felt like it was almost over detailed at times and for me and can get a little wearisome. There is in fact many things that I enjoyed about this book. I loved Krakauer's use of quotes at the beginning of each chapter, It really set the tone and gave you insight as to what each chapter was about. I also thoroughly enjoyed how personal he made it, he made me feel as if I was taking the adventure with him. Overall I would definitely recommend this book to those who love the outdoors It will definitely satisfy your craving for thrill.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic telling of a horrible situation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My DeviantArt username is Fritrzmoon. I really don't get on that much, but I have a few things on there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is compelling but I can't believe this book had no pictures
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories about man vs. nature are always intriguing to me. This one didn't let me down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Last summer I had the opportunity to read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. When I first picked up this book, i did not think it would interest me since it is non-fiction and i tend to lean more towards mystery and fiction. A few chapters in though, i was captivated by Krakauer's story. The story of this motley crew of adults venturing into the Himalayas and all the horrors and woes it holds... it's amazing. Afterwards, I felt myself craving to attempt the fatal summit. John Krakauer has a way with his words; he seems to conjure up images so vivid I felt as if i were there. The most horrible yet fascinating fact of the novel was it all indeed occurred and this narrator exists. These people were/are alive and did experience what was described as a thrilling and treacherous expedition. Every page left me lingering for more. Honestly I can say this is in my top 10 favorite novels of all time & i highly recommend it.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Jon Krakauer was eager to summit Everest when a job opportunity allowed him to do so. He sacrificed everything in order to accomplish his persistent dream of of reaching the tallest peak in the world. Krakauer was unaware, however, that while on the perilous mountain, majority of his expedition team, as well as others, would be included in the biggest death toll that has ever occurred on Everest. Into Thin Air portrays a personal struggle that Krakauer faces on the mountain as well as when he returns home from the incident. While this book is a good read, it is not for the faint-hearted as it is morbid and cimmerian towards the end; Krakauer explains his state of depression and what it felt like to inform the families affected about the tragedy. A theme of self-reliance is repeated throughout Jon’s story and is exemplified through his personality as well. Because he remained autonomous throughout the journey, he ended up surviving and accomplishing what he wanted to do. He also felt like it was partly his fault, since he was so independant from his expedition team, and he struggles with guilt. Through his struggles, he learns to appreciate life and the fact that it’s extremely fragile, which is somewhat of an uplifting and positive message that the book highlights. While it is stressful and sometimes hard to read, the book is a deep and intense testament to the delicacy of life and how to appreciate it.
Tyler-Stevens_1 9 days ago
Potential Spoilers: When I picked up my copy of "Into Thin Air", by Jon Krakauer, I expected an adventurous thrill-ride with the typical Krakauer diction and analysis; I was thoroughly pleased. The beginning features what pulled Jon into doing the coveted Everest expedition and a detailed explanation of the history of the summit and its idolized climbers. Jon also sets the stage for the detailed explanation by allowing to ultimately know the outcome of the adventure (if you didn't already know prior to reading), which may serve as a shock to some but ultimately helps him illustrate the bigger picture. The victims of the Everest climb ironically serve as vivid descriptors into the events that took place amidst the tragedy.The description of the trek serves greater thrill and entertainment value than a film could ever provide and also makes us truly question the price some people will pay (sometimes their own life), to be able to feed their hungry childhood dreams. I believe that if you are an outdoors enthusiast and enjoyed any of of Krakauer's previous works, you will absolutely love this choice. If you aren't into reading purely for entertainment, there are many of great themes throughout the novel and very meaningful passages that I don't want to spoil but deal with plenty of questions such as the value of life and how we choose to use it. Overall this is a read that I'd recommend to anyone and everyone so please go and give it a chance.
Anonymous 4 months ago
First ascent: May 29, 1953 not june,2
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many people are not able to fully fathom the amount of danger the climbers of Mount Everest are in during their trek due to a lack of experience. As an avid outdoorsman I had ambitions to climb the highest summits of the world but after reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer I have begun to doubt whether I really want to do it. Jon’s book is his own firsthand account of his summit of Mount Everest. His account shows that experience doesn’t mean anything when it comes to summiting Mount Everest all that matters is what one has within. During his expedition with Rob Hall, someone who many people considered the best guide, a storm rolled in causing the death of majority of his climbing group. Jon Krakauer’s way of telling his account was almost like time machine that transported you there. Many times during this book I had to grab a blanket due to the fact that I felt cold or even felt sick due to his intense descriptions. One of the descriptions that stuck with me was the process of dealing with someone who was coughing blood. “When he pulled his hand out I shined my head lamp on his glove and it was totally red, soaked with blood, he’d been coughing up into the mask. Then I shined the light on his face and it was covered in blood to.”(pg 139) The entire account of this part of the story evoked a sickening and sad feeling. Generally this book is not for those who are of the faint of heart. What Jon and others went through is not something that you can understand by reading a book. While yes it does allow for a look into his experience it is nothing but a crack. The bonds built and broken between he and others is something that can be only understood by experiencing what he did. In his book he was sure to try his best to create this bond though. Every single character had a physical and home description of them. Take Mike Groom, the third expedition guide, for instance. Jon describes him as “A thirty-year-old Australian with carrot-colored hair and the lean build of a marathon runner, Groom was a Brisbane plumber who worked as a guide only occasionally.” (50) Jon went into further description that took almost an entire page. By giving information about physical traits and life set up of every member, like he did for Mike Groom, he built a bond and close feeling with each character. Over all I felt as if the book was almost perfectly written. I say almost for a reason. The book in my opinion didn’t start until a couple chapters in. majority of the beginning of the book was all back ground information on the history of Mount Everest. It was during this part that I struggled to stay with the book due to the large amount of facts just being spurted out. I stayed with it though because I picked up on well placed foreshadowing. By including small bits of information like “She isn’t concerned with me at all when I’m guiding because I’m gonna make all the right choices”(81). It’s these that kept me going but once I got passed the intro I could not put the book down. There is no doubt I would recommend this book to someone else, in fact I already have (my father). I feel bad for doing that because this book put me on a major emotion roller coast but I will 100% reread it over and over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Into Thin Air, is a fantastic book especially for those with an adventurous side and a will for overcoming obstacles and challenges in life. The book is about a writer Jon Krakauer who is hired by Outside Magazine to write about the commercialism that was happening on Mount Everest. Krakauer joins Rob Hall’s expedition team and ends up facing one of Everest worst storms ever, challenging Jon and several others will to survive thus changing their lives forever. The book has several themes in it. One theme that is spoken about frequently towards the beginning of this book is the commercialism of Everest. Krakauer explains how the Mountain’s commercialism grew when Nepal and Tibet were receiving large sums of revenue from the tourist coming strictly for a chance to conquer the Mountain. Also he explains how the guide teams would charge outrageous prices around 65,000 just for a attempt to climb the mountain. Another major theme in Into Thin Air is the loyalty and trust the climbers must have in their guides and with each other in order try and survive the obstacles that Everest possesses. The guide leaders are responsible for giving the safest possible climb for their clients and this means they must put their own lives in danger in order to bring oxygen, or just rescue them when they can’t go any further. The problem is the loyalty between members is so strong it results in several people dying. I think this book would be great for anyone to read unless you don’t like to hear about some of the tragedies that happen such as death and loss of body parts due to frost bite, and the sicknesses that occurred due to the altitude. The book is a pretty easy read overall and Krakauer uses a writing style that gives a large amount of information to ensure the readers know a lot about the mountains history and the lives of the people who climbed it. Overall I would give the book a 5 star rating because I really enjoyed learning about what actually happened on Everest that May, as well as learning more about the commercialism and history of Mount Everest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Harrison_Schatz More than 1 year ago
“The plain truth is that I knew better but went to Everest anyway. And in doing so I was a party to the death of good people, which is something that is apt to remain on my conscience for a very long time.” The book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer is a true account of the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest, which resulted in the deaths of 8 climbers. Most of those who died were clients, who payed up to $80,000 each to be guided up to the summit of the world’s highest peak. Among the 8 victims were Scott Fischer and Rob Hall, who were accomplished guides on the mountain who wanted desperately to get their clients to the summit in order to enhance their guiding reputation. The book was replete with harrowing details of the suffering endured by the members of the expedition and the severity of the storm that hit them. It is a truly unnerving story of the highest mountain in the world, and the plight of those who disrespected its might. Into Thin Air is an extremely comprehensive account of this tragedy, as Krakauer took the reader into quite a bit of detail about the lives and deaths of the members of the doomed climbing party. He uses multiple accounts of individuals whose lives were described in great detail, demonstrating that Krakauer did considerable research on his subjects. He wasn’t afraid to hold back on his opinions of his companions, as he criticized client Sandy Pittman and guide Anatoli Boukreev’s practices on the mountain. This book really grabs you at an emotional level, as several people who died were quite close to Krakauer. The story also goes into the history of Mount Everest, and of course runs through all of the logistics of climbing the mountain, such as bottled oxygen and Sherpas. The author went to Everest to do an article for Outside Magazine and as such the writing style has journalistic qualities about it. Do not take this as bad thing though, Krakauer’s retelling of the events is very well put together, and he knows where to keep the reader’s attention. This is a must-read for anyone into or looking to get into mountaineering. For everyone else, I would highly recommend it as well, as Krakauer writes an excellent and gripping tale.