Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest DisasterInto Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bad luck is a feature of existence. Not that luck is necessarily a real thing, but the random nature of being is such that every once in a while the wheel lines up and crushes you. I’ve heard it helps to look on the bright side. Should you be feeling down and in need of some positivity, you may wish to remind yourself, “this may look bad, but at least I am not on Everest in a hurricane.” Like Jon Krakauer. In the spring of ’96 he and numerous other mountaineers, after paying mostly exorbitant fees to various guiding groups, began a month-long trek to reach the summit of the tallest mountain in the world. Some of them even achieved it. But it’s a mountaineering truism that “getting to the summit is the easy part; it’s getting back down that’s hard.” (290) Krakauer’s expedition alone lost five people, and though you wouldn’t think enough people would want to climb Everest that there would be multiple concurrent expeditions, there were and many of those expeditions lost several people. Bad luck, bad decisions, and worse weather combined in a perfect storm of tragedy. While Krakauer honestly describes the circumstances and individual choices that likely contributed to the egregious death toll, his own actions included, he is also sure to include praise where praise is due. People were heroes. In some cases it was enough. Other cases it wasn’t. His vivid descriptions, honest portrayal, and ability to refrain from condemnation won my admiration and made this book one of my favourites for the year. I highly recommend it. Unless someone you love is a mountaineer. In that case I would bypass this book entirely.

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One thought on “Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

  1. Cheryl Ernst

    Your writing just keeps getting better: “I’ve heard it helps to look on the bright side.” Love it!


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