Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air

A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Book - 1997
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When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn't slept in fifty-seven hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top.nbsp;nbsp;No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds. Six hours later and 3,000 feet lower, in 70-knot winds and blinding snow, Krakauer collapsed in his tent, freezing, hallucinating from exhaustion and hypoxia, but safe. The following morning, he learned that six of his fellow climbers hadn't made it back to their camp and were desperately struggling for their lives. When the storm finally passed, five of them would be dead, and the sixth so horribly frostbitten that his right hand would have to be amputated.

Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of the bestseller Into the Wild . On assignment for Outside Magazine to report on the growing commercialization of the mountain, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas as a client of Rob Hall, the most respected high-altitude guide in the world.nbsp;nbsp;A rangy, thirty-five-year-old New Zealander, Hall had summited Everest four times between 1990 and 1995 and had led thirty-nine climbers to the top. Ascending the mountain in close proximity to Hall's team was a guided expedition led by Scott Fischer, a forty-year-old American with legendary strength and drive who had climbed the peak without supplemental oxygen in 1994. But neither Hall nor Fischer survived the rogue storm that struck in May 1996.

Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people -- including himself -- to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concerns of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense. Written with emotional clarity and supported by his unimpeachable reporting, Krakauer's eyewitness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.

Into the Wild is available on audio, read by actor Campbell Scott.
Publisher: New York : Villard, 1997.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780679457527
0679457526
Branch Call Number: 796.522/KRAK
Characteristics: 293p.; 24cm.

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DCLadults May 07, 2018

I couldn’t put this down. The stories about the history of other Everest climbers were interestingly told and the 1996 ordeal was intense and absorbing. I came away with a different opinion about what it means to climb Everest in modern times.

SPPL_János Mar 22, 2018

While reporting on the worrying phenomenon of commercial climbing tours on Mount Everest, Krakauer was caught in the mountain's deadliest disaster. With soul-searching detail he recreates the freak storm that stranded and killed 8 climbers, and the larger world of high-altitude climbing. A haunting picture of this deadly environment and a survivor's inner turmoil.

c
cularien
Jan 16, 2018

Wow. What a story/event/book. This book will draw you in and not let go until you’re done.

I’d never read anything by Krakauer before, nor was I familiar with the events spawning the book—so I truly came into it cold, no pun intended.

I skimmed at times midway through; there’s also a handful of language and (for my conservative, faith based taste) content (references to drug use and “making sauce”) that were, to me, unnecessary and detracting.

But the story itself—wow. Krakauer really brought all parties to life and painted a vivid word picture; I truly felt like I was there with them. The climax was gut wrenching, sorrowful, painful; I felt the author’s grief and pain to my core. A book that will stay with me for some time to come.

ArapahoeHollyR Aug 23, 2017

Thrilling survival tale of a disastrous Everest summit attempt. Highly recommended for any extreme adventure or mountaineering fans.

ArapahoeKelsey Feb 15, 2017

I read this book after I watched the newest Everest movie, and felt I needed even more information. This book was incredibly compelling. I was awed and terrified by Everest, and the people that climbed up this fateful May. I'm now obsessed with Everest stories, and Krakauer is an incredibly gifted writer. For anyone that wants to know what happened on Mount Everest with one of the most talented and well-known guides, I highly suggest getting this title immediately.

e
edvolk
Nov 18, 2016

There are at least 3 others who were on the mountain at the same time as the author who wrote books about their experiences. All in part blame Krakauer for the events that he writes about. Some of the things he says appear to be untrue as well. Please read Lou Kasischke's book or Anatoli Boukreev's book for a different take on the disaster.

ArapahoeAlicia Aug 09, 2016

The best non-fiction in my opinion is the kind that reels you in like a great novel. Krakauer has an excellent knack for true storytelling and this book being founded in his own experiences on Everest during such a great tragedy had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Whether you like mountaineering or not, this book is not to be missed.

y
ylkcls
Jul 19, 2016

This story was very touching!

e
Ethan_Annis
Jul 13, 2016

Why do people climb tall mountains, where the air is so thin that humans are not evolved to survive? Krakauer’s narrative, which reads like a thriller, attempts to answer this question. Into Thin Air chronicles the author’s ascent of Mt. Everest in 1996. From Krakauer’s team of five climbers who reached the summit, he was the only survivor. The rest were killed by a rogue storm. Others who climbed Everest during the same season were also killed. Krakauer describes the “summit fever,” greed and poverty that led to the deaths. What I find so compelling about Into Thin Air is that at some level it is about drive and hubris. It illuminates a normally dark part of the human condition by showing what motivates humans to go to extreme means for an almost meaningless end. Since Krakauer was on the expeditions, not an idle observer, the book has a special gravity. I’ve read four books by Krakauer. Into Thin Air is my favorite and Into the Wild is a close second.

m
missshaw
Jul 11, 2016

Even though I am not a climber, it is one of my favorite books.

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yuweizheng Aug 18, 2013

Into Thin Air is a novel about a real adventure and the story is told from the point of view of a witness Jon Krakauer, a journalist who is one of the climbers to reach the summit in 1996.

notTom Dec 16, 2010

This modern classic of the adventure genre is a first-hand narrative of the storm atop Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, which led to the death of eight people in May of 1996. Written only months after it happened, Outside magazine journalist and dedicated mountain climber Jon Krakauer relates the tragic journey to the summit of Everest, led by celebrated guide Rob Hall with granite-like resolve. To provide context, Krakauer evokes the storied history of climbing on Everest and the dangerous yet immensely rewarding art of mountain climbing in general. This Pulitzer Prize finalist is filled with gritty power and clear eloquence: it is an account of both grandeur and loss.

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