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

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

by Jon Krakauer
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Into Thin Air 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 609 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 5 months ago
Do yourself the favor of having this book in your life.
DarkRavenDH 10 months ago
The controversy continues… On May 10, 1996 one of the worst accidents in the history of Mount Everest left eight people dead and others badly injured. Author Jon Krakauer was among the climbers on that fatal day. There were at least three groups on the mountain that day that all elected to summit. Adventure Consultants, the author’s group, were lead by famed New Zeeland Mountaineer Ron Hall who achieved his fifth summit before becoming trapped by a sudden storm. Another group was Mountain Madness, lead by equally famous American Mountaineer Scott Fischer. While Hall and Fischer had agreed to work together and planned to summit on the 10th of May, a group from Tiawan also decided that they would also. The sheer number of climbers caused a bottleneck at certain points of the final push to the top. Hall had a rule about turning around if you didn’t make it to the summit by a certain time, but that day the rule was sadly broken. Jon Krakauer and a few others reached the summit first and began to make their way back down. The problem was that others were still headed up. There was only a single rope to be used for both ascending and descending. Krakauer and the others had to wait for the way to clear before they could descend. A fast-moving storm came in just as Krakauer and his group reached camp four. This is where the controversy comes in. Some of the climbers stated that the author misrepresented them in his article for Outsider Magazine. They also stated that Krakauer failed to go to the aide of trapped climbers, even though he had made it back safely. I feel the major controversy lies not with who did or didn’t do something they should have. The problem lies in an unwritten rule about Everest. Above 26,000 feet lies what is known as “The Dead Zone.” Should a climber become incapacitated in that particular zone, they are often just left to die. The reasoning is that climbers are drained by the climb into an area where without supplemental oxygen energy burns up swiftly. They are in danger themselves and to try to drag or carry a downed hiker could realistically end with all parties dead. On this climb a hiker named Beck Weathers was abandoned to his fate. However, after lying on the exposed ice all night and part of the next day, Beck came around and staggered into camp four. He lost a hand, fingers on the other hand, and his nose but he survived. Was it possible that others might have survived with a little help? We will never know. The struggle written in this book is a deeply personal matter and a firsthand account of a life or death struggle. I give this book five stars. Quoth the Raven…
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Because it’s there.”. Everest pioneer George Mallory spoke unpretentiously when he was asked why to climb the tallest mountain on earth. These words, spoken more than 100 years ago, are still true to the mentality of climbers who risk their lives to reach the tallest of the seven summits. Into Thin Air gives a personal account of one of the deadliest summits in everest history. Jon Krakauer spares no detail when accounting the horrific actions that took place on May 10 -11, 1996. On the Southeast ridge of Everest, disaster struck. Caught in a terrible blizzard a dozen experienced climbers froze to death on the steep and deadly tundra. Everest legends like Rob Hall, Scott Fischer and other climbers all working against the mountain that has taken so many lives before. The story starts off with Krakauer reaching the highest point on Earth. Expecting to feel proud and overjoyed, he just can't quite muster the energy to do so. Then we go back to the beginning of his journey. He meets his fellow climbers on the plane and at the hotel. They start off for Everest Base Camp, this trek takes multiple days by itself. When they reach base camp it takes half a dozen weeks to get acclimated to the high altitude. On May 10th the expedition makes its summit attempt. Krakauer speeds to the top and starts his descent down to the last camp to get some sleep. A large group is still trying to make it to the top when Jon falls asleep. This is when disaster strikes. One of the largest storms that Everest has ever seen tore across the Himalayas. With nowhere to go, and no one but their teammates to help the climbers scramble for help. Lack of oxygen and extreme cold become the downfall of many people. This book is really about help from climbers coming when people need it most. Throughout the book loyalty to the team can save lives of many climbers but sometimes the challenge is too great even then. This book is worth reading because it gives readers an insight to the terrible conditions that many climbers suffered on this fateful day. This book will do many things for the reader. With many facts about Everest it's easy to gather a lot of useful knowledge from this book. It will also put the audience on the edge of their seat for almost the entire book. Tons of cliffhangers and foreshadowing makes for an enjoying but very anxious reading experience. The plot was extremely thorough and covered almost everything going on at any point on the mountain. However, this also led to lots of jumping around, making the story hard to follow. Throughout the book it is hard to get to know characters completely, due to the sheer vastness of the character set. This also added to the confusing of the storyline, during the read there were many times where I would almost be totally in the dark on what was happening. I think that there are many people who would enjoy this book. However, I believe that this book is at a higher reading level then I am capable of understanding. Therefore I would recommend it to grades 9 and up. This fantastic story jumped around so much that it takes a lot of textual evidence and intense reading to get the entire picture. All in all this book was a very enlightening read, then again, with a plot harder to follow than most books I believe that it is meant for a high school and up reading level.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sophomore in high school and I had to write this review for a research project. Doing a project on Mount Everest and reading Into Thin Air for my research, was the key to finding no information I needed. Although Jon Krakauer's ascent to Mount Everest was amazing and inspiring it did not give me enough information about the mountain itself. Jon went on and on about the excess information and did not only discuss his experience climbing, he also talked about other people in his group, which made it confusing. This made the plot rather confusing than enjoyable. I would personally not read the book again unless I was forced to due the lengthiness. It was more interesting learning about Mount Everest through internet articles rather than the book. Many of the attributes I do like about the book is the sense of bravery, courage to climb other mountains and trust in his teammates that Jon gains. I highly suggest this book if you are interested in the way multiple people climbed Mount Everest and are not looking for factual information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sophomore in high school and I had to write this review for a research project. Doing a project on Mount Everest and reading Into Thin Air for my research, was the key to finding no information. Although Jon Krakauer's ascent to Mount Everest was amazing and inspiring it did not give me enough information about the mountain itself. Jon went on and on about the excess information and did not only discuss his experience climbing, he also talked about other people in his group, which made it confusing. It was more interesting learning about Mount Everest through internet articles rather than the book. One of the attributes I do like about the book is the sense of bravery and trust in his teammates that Jon gains. I highly suggest this book if you are interested in the way multiple people climbed Mount Everest and are not looking for factual information.
Anonymous More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year ago
First ascent: May 29, 1953 not june,2