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Load image into Gallery viewer, Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Load image into Gallery viewer, Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

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  • Author: Jon Krakauer
  • ISBN: 9780385494786

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Customer Reviews

A case of murderous reportageInto Thin Air s such a riveting read that it deserves five stars, and a permanent place on my overcrowded shelves.However, I must note that the book itself - or rather, the Outlook article which was responsible for Krakauer's presence on this expedition in the first place - is the real reason so many people died on the mountain that day. Had the expedition leaders not been competing for the attention of Outlook readers, this probably would not have happened; they were seasoned veterans of the mountain and would not, I am sure, made such an elementary mistake as not turning back by the agreed hour. This proved fatal for several people. Krakauer, to his eternal shame, tried to blame this debacle on the other group's Russian guide. Who, as he admits, went out in a blizzard on his own to save his clients and brought them down single-handed. And showed a lot more empathy than Krakauer himself.That said, I have read no book on mountaineering that better describes the emotions and physical sensations of being in this punishing environment. f you want a powerful 'Rashomon' tale for our times, read this book in tandem with Anatoli Boukreev's /Weston DeWalt's The Climb. They depict the same story but with a very different perspective, and the story itself never gets anything less than fascinating.5Walter Mittys BewareIn his introduction Mr. Krakauer states, attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act a triumph of desire or sensibility. Boy, I wholeheartedly agree with him on that point. The author had done his fair share of mountain climbing but never something as demanding as attempting Mt. Everest. He was 41 years old and past his prime as a climber. Mr. Krakauer joined the expedition on a writing assignment for some magazine called Outside. My hopes in reading Into Thin Air was it would give me better insight into people taking such a risk as well as hopefully understanding the challenges involved in climbing the tallest mountain in the world. I kept shaking my head in wonder that some people would voluntarily put themselves through such an ordeal simply to satiate their ego. Granted, there are adrenaline junkies who love the high of placing themselves in such danger, always looking for the next fix, but Everest is a whole different level of intense. It was easy to accept the economic rationale used by Sherpas for repeatedly going on the trek, but despite the numerous reasons given by various climbers in the book, it still boiled down to a person's need to build up their self-esteem or self-importance, even at the risk of their relationships with significant others.Because of these risk-takers, the reader in turn is treated to a gripping interesting memoir by Mr. Krakauer for his efforts. There were oodles of dangers involved beyond falling to your death. Climbing to such heights could lead to altitude-related illnesses, constantly being lightheaded and fighting to breath, excruciating headaches, dramatic muscle loss, nausea, wild fluctuations in emotions, frostbite, inadequate sleep, dysentery, vomiting, hypothermia, hallucinations, and being crushed by falling rocks or building-sized ice chunks. Into Thin Air corrected many of my presumptions about the size of Everest s Base Camp, the nature of Sherpas, the history of prior Mt. Everest climbers, and the economic impact on the region due to so many people wanting to climb the damn thing. Mr. Krakauer also spends time giving brief biographies of quite a number of the people in his and other expeditions on the mountain at the same they were on it. Once the storm hits the team while at or near the top of Everest, I could not pull away from the story. The book includes eight pages of black-and-white photographs. The 1999 edition of Into Thin Air includes a Postscript where the author convincingly rebuts criticism of his book by one of the other climbers on the expedition who felt his reputation had been maligned by Mr. Krakauer. The journalist has also gone to write six other well-received nonfiction books at the time of this review.At no time while reading Into Thin Air did I think, Gee, that seems like a lot of fun. One of the excerpts at the beginning of a chapter states by Walt Unsworth that the American public has no inherent national sympathy for mountain climbing, unlike the Alpine countries of Europe, or the British, who invented the sport. Americans did not accept such reckless risk of life. Speaking as a near-sixty-year-old, couch potato American, that s a fair assessment. Mr. Krakauer has written an absorbing honest memoir and it understandably left the journalist with psychological scars because of what happened up there. If you have an itch to attempt such a feat, I advise you stick to indoor rock climbing and pretend the wall is Mt. Everest.5What a winerThorough report of a "mountaineer" who did nothing to help fellow climbers, saves himself. I really dont like him after reading other climbing tales. Hes not as good as he lets on and is imo jealous of real mountaineers like Anatoli.Wish i hadnt gotten his book and wonder why anyone in their right mind would think Krakauer is any more believable than others.Krakauer saved 0, Anatoli saved 3.Math is math, numbers dont lie. People do.1Fantastic account of the ascension to 8.8 km above sea levels and the dangers inflicted by acts of God and human error.Who can better convey the insanity of ascending 8.8 km vertically than a survivor giving us a first hand account? Jon Krakauer brilliantly gave us his poignant and introspective personal experience in Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, a severe cautionary spotlight on the fallibility of commercialising altitude chasing madness . Beautifully written, a great advantage because Jon is an experienced journalist and he is himself a mountaineering enthusiast. After watching the film version "Everest", Jon's heart wrenching and comprehensive journal filled all the missing gaps the film couldn't convey. The majority of readers, like me, who are weak willed couch potatoes, and who abhor the discomfort of living in nature and physical hardships, can nevertheless appreciate the fleeting joys of mountaineering by these insane and intrepid mountaineers, who must pay the heavy price of excruciating struggle both physically and mentally to attain their egoistical vertical endeavours while leaving behind the filth and corpses marking their passing. Only extreme masochists can overcome the immense hardships and obstacles to attempt, not just climbing mount Everest, but all activities that go beyond the comfort zone of the body's physiology. Many paid the highest price possible, their lives and bottomless sorrow for their relatives. Its interesting that Jon, at the end of his harrowing and heart breaking experience, he did not tell the world to stop climbing to heights where the air is so thin that it does great harm to body. Instead he advocated climbing with the the aid of supplemental oxygen. But ironically, his account of the Everest ascent showed that logistics in getting the oxygen tanks to the climbers are so difficult and can easily go awry. How does one defy Murphy's law when precious lives are at stake under blizzard and subzero conditions? Even when full tanks of oxygen were available, they were mistaken as empty tanks because the brain deprived of O2 for too long cease to function lucidly. Even with survivors from the jaws of Everest, one may end up losing their limbs or other protruding body parts to frostbite. So seriously folks, nothing gets more serious than the question of life or death or courting with the dangerous side of fate. The bottom line to life's pursuits is when we need extra gear to do life threatening stuff that contributes nothing to mankind, it is most certainly nature's way of telling us 'Don't'. Not heeding the risk endanger not only the perpetrator's life but also the lives of others attempting to save him. And please stop defiling Everest. Lets keep nature pristine as it should be.5Continuing Controversy...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 Taiwan 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 aid 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 5Good detailThe author writes in great detail without being boring. I got a slight feel for what his experiences were like, although I don t think anyone will ever truly know unless it s personally experienced.However, I rated this as three star simply because I feel the author is condescending and snobby. Yes, he climbed the mountain and very few people will ever even see it, much less climb it.But I just walked away thinking he thinks he s better than everyone else. Now that the adventure is over, i understand it might be difficult to get back to normal life, but I just didn t think he was someone I d care to talk to at a party.3Gripping details of the horrifying and unimaginable events that unfolded on that fateful day.Ever since I watched the movie "Everest," I have been spellbound by the tragic events of that fateful day, May 10, 1996, and the circumstances that lead to the disaster. I wanted to know more, to learn about the lives of those who perished, and survived, and try to understand why. I sought out books, starting with this one; but also happened upon a series on the Discovery Channel entitled "Everest - Beyond the Limit," episodes of expedition led by team leaders who guide paying clients to the top via the north as well as the south climbing routes. It was quite fascinating witness the harrows of the ascent with the ultimate goal of the summit assault. The shows brought to life for me all of events I was reading about while providing insights to the treacherous terrains, precipitous slopes, plunging temperatures and staggering heights of an actual climb to a place perched atop a death-defying, jetliner cruising altitude of 29,028 feet!Told in gripping detail of the horrifying and unimaginable events that unfolded on that day, climber/journalist Jon Krakauer on assignment for "Outside" magazine, begins his account in the days leading up May 10. Krakauer introduces us to the climbers, the sherpas and team leaders of his own expedition as well as other competing companies all vying to guide their clients, many of whom paid up to $65,000, to the rooftop of the world!From there, with fascinating anecdotes of the author's own experiences, Krakauer guides us on his own personal journey--his physical challenges and struggles as well as the emotional suffering of the climb, the deaths, the survival and the flashbacks that continue to haunt him to this day.As with all personal accounts, there's always another side to the story and "Into Thin Air" is no exception. At the end of the book in postscript, the author includes notes about literary attacks, many of which he defends successfully; and sorrowful, some quite angry, responses from members of the families of those who lost their lives. I can't imagine what Krakauer must have lived through and his continuing nightmare about that disastrous day more than 20 years ago.A must read for those interested in attempts to summit Everest and to bear witness to the perseverance, sacrifice and steadfast determination that possesses intrepid explorers and drives them to stand on top of the world. Remember, reaching the summit is only half the journey and 80% of the Everest fatalities occur on the way back down.5If bashing a real-life hero is your thing, this book is for youAfter reading this book and then "The Climb" by Anatoli Boukreev, I am disgusted by the detestable lies Krakauer KNOWINGLY printed in this book. Honestly, it makes me sick to think about it. Krakauer bashed and blamed Boukreev - the legendary hero of the day - who went alone back into the storm at night to save lives while Krakauer sat in his tent and did NOTHING to help ANYONE. This is a level of vileness I am still choking on. And then to top it off Krakauer did nothing but praise Rob Hall - the man who led a bunch of mountaineer novices into volatile weather, with no ropes in place and not enough supplemental oxygen - just to abandon them all. What Hall did to Beck is just horrifying - telling him to wait there for him and then never sending anyone to help him. Never even TELLING anyone that Beck was waiting for him. When Krakauer saw Beck high up on the mountain, frozen and unable to see, and JUST LEFT HIM THERE I just could not believe anyone could actually be that selfish and cruel. Hall and Krakauer left Beck and everyone else for Dead. But they are the heroes and Boukreev, the guy who saved everyone, is the bad guy. Seriously wtf.1This book is amazingI was inspired to read Into Thin Air just recently based solely on Jon Krakauer's comments about the upcoming Everest movie, having suggested people read his book instead. Although I wasn't initially sold by an author promoting his own book, and slighting a movie he hadn't profited on, it did pique my interest in the events that transpired in 1996 and the magazine article that preceded. I found the article absolutely riveting, breezing through in one sitting. I spent the following few days seeking out everything else I cold find published about the incident, at which point I decided to do as Krakauer instructed. The book was exceptional; I couldn't put it down and finished it in two sittings over two days. I would highly suggest finding/reading the PDF article from Outside Magazine online first...if you like that, you will love the book.5One of the best journalistic pieces I've ever readA fantastic read on all fronts. As the first book I've ever read about mountain-climbing, it sets a very high bar. Krakuer covers a lot of ground without losing the reader. His description provides a concrete understanding of the dangerous nature of climbing Everest, and a respectably thorough but not burdensome history of the mountain and the various communities that are now so inextricably linked to it. It was very easy to understand the technical aspects, even for someone who's never climbed anything higher than a low-pitched roof on a small house. Most importantly, Krakuer offers a plainly unbiased and painfully honest account of the human errors that contributed to the 1996 tragedy. I like that he absolves nobody even himself of their share of the responsibility, and also gives credit where it is due. As a former journalist and a lifelong writer, I appreciate his rigid dedication to objectivity and thorough reporting and sourcing. He manages to strike that perfect balance of reporting the facts as accurately and honestly as possible especially for someone so involved in and traumatized by the events while still telling a profoundly compelling and engaging story.I'm not sure I agree with his decision to address the conflicts between himself and Anatoli Boukreev in the afterword, but I understand why he did and I think he handled it with integrity and class. For my money, this is a phenomenal book for anyone who has an appreciation for mountaineering or wants to understand that fateful day.5
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

4.6
Error You can't add more than 500 quantity.
Regular price
£30.00
Sale price
£30.00
Regular price
£48.00
Sold out
Unit price
per 
Save 38% (£18.00)