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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt.…
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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster (1997)

by Jon Krakauer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,183201325 (4.18)242
Recently added byRobrus, mgmolloy, bhakti.gala, goaterdam, myownwoman, xtinebown, private library, hschock, wtgreen1, rmwasserman
Legacy LibrariesThomas C. Dent
  1. 61
    The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev (marzipanz, oregonobsessionz, coclimber)
    marzipanz: It may seem like an obvious recommendation, but I would really urge everybody to read The Climb instead of or in addition to Into Thin Air. It really sheds a completely new light on some of what Krakauer writes, and - to me - seemed a far more convincing account of some of the events.… (more)
    oregonobsessionz: While The Climb is not an easy read like Into Thin Air, it does provide a different perspective on the disaster, and answers some of Krakauer's criticisms of Boukreev's actions.
  2. 40
    The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men against the Sea by Sebastian Junger (kraaivrouw)
  3. 40
    Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest by Beck Weathers (riverwillow)
  4. 30
    Everest the West Ridge: 50th Anniversary Edition by Thomas F. Hornbein (BookWallah)
    BookWallah: If you liked Into Thin Air, then you are ready for the mountaineering classic, Everest: The West Ridge. This sparse first person account of the other American team that came after Whitaker in 1963 and put up a route that has seldom been repeated.
  5. 30
    Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (VivienneR)
  6. 20
    Shadow divers : the true adventure of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson (alaskabookworm)
    alaskabookworm: Couldn't put "Shadow Divers" down; one of my favorite nonfiction adventure books of all time.
  7. 20
    Blind Descent: the Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth by James M. Tabor (PamFamilyLibrary)
    PamFamilyLibrary: Who would guess, but going down into the Super Caves is as dangerous as going up K2 or Everest.
  8. 20
    Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer (fichtennadel, Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: If you want some background on "what makes Krakauer tick", do check out his earlier stories.
  9. 20
    K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain by Ed Viesturs (Grandeplease)
  10. 10
    The Other Side of Everest: Climbing the North Face Through the Killer Storm by Matt Dickinson (riverwillow)
  11. 10
    The Kid Who Climbed Everest: The Incredible Story of a 23-Year-Old's Summit of Mt. Everest by Bear Grylls (FireandIce)
  12. 10
    Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil (normandie_m)
    normandie_m: The events in this book re-opened discussion of the controversies surrounding the 1996 disaster. Heil examines similar themes, particularly the ethical dilemma of whether or not to offer assistance to/rescuing sick climbers when one's own health and supplies such as oxygen are depleted.… (more)
  13. 00
    Göran Kropp : [8000 ] by Göran Kropp (Navarone)
  14. 00
    Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both are about the ascent to the top of Mount Everest - one is historical fiction; the other is non-fiction,
  15. 00
    The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz (sombrio)
  16. 00
    Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avalanches by Jill Fredston (alaskabookworm)
  17. 00
    Dead Lucky: Life after Death on Mount Everest by Lincoln Hall (RMSmithJr)
  18. 00
    Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy by Lene Gammelgaard (cjoats)
  19. 00
    No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 by Graham Bowley (jan.fleming)
    jan.fleming: It's the summit of K2, 1 August 2008. An exhausted band of climbers pump their fists into the clear blue sky - joining the elite who have conquered the world's most lethal mountain. But as they celebrate, far below them an ice shelf collapses and sweeps away their ropes. They don't know it yet, but they will be forced to descend into the blackness with no lines. Of the thirty who set out, eleven will never make it back. Following the stories of climbers from around the world, "No Way Down" weaves a tale of human courage, folly, survival and devastating loss. The stories are heart-wrenching: the young married couple whose rope was torn apart by an avalanche, sending the husband to his death; the 61-year-old Frenchman who called his family from near the summit to say he wouldn't make it home. So what drove them to try to conquer this elusive peak? And what went wrong that fateful day?… (more)
  20. 00
    K2: Triumph and Tragedy by Jim Curran (Polaris-)

(see all 20 recommendations)

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» See also 242 mentions

English (196)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (201)
Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
This is a bittersweet true adventure tale of the 1996 tragedy on Mount Everest that claimed the lives of twelve climbers. Krakauer recounts with brutal honesty what went wrong amidst the heroism of climbers both on his expedition and from others. ( )
  krin5292 | Apr 30, 2015 |
I really loved Jon Krakauer's account of Chris McCandless' fateful journey in Into the Wild, so Into Thin Air seemed like a sensible next read for me. An incredibly harrowing tale of the spring 1996 Everest climbing season, this book shot up to the top of my favorites list for it's factual yet beautiful prose. Krakauer makes you feel like you're right on the mountain climbing with them, and does not shirk his own part in the disastrous events of that season. It definitely made me think about my own sometimes risky climbing trips, and any dreams about climbing any tough terrain like Everest. All in all I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends who love climbing and anything nature related. ( )
  morgtini | Mar 11, 2015 |
The book recounts the complicated and sometimes chaotic ascent of several guided groups on May 10, 1996, during which a "rogue storm" blizzard wreaks havoc, resulting in eight deaths, the most on Everest in a single day.

I was only marginally aware of the incidents in this ill-fated 1996 Everest expedition, and in my mind I had it mixed up with the IMAX film "Everest", which was a different group also hiking the mountain at the same time. Although the IMAX crew did assist with some of the rescue operations, it was the Adventure Consultants expedition, which Krakauer joined as a writer for Outside magazine, which suffered losses that day. ( )
  captnkurt | Mar 10, 2015 |
In 1996, journalist and mountain-climbing enthusiast Jon Krakauer joined an expedition to the top of Mt. Everest as part of a magazine piece he was asked to do on the increasing commercialization of Everest expeditions. Karkauer reached the top and came back alive, but many of those who made the attempt at the same time, including several members of Krakauer's own group, died on the mountain. This book is his attempt to explain, both for his readers and himself, what happened and why.

Most of the account describes the ordinary business of climbing Everest -- if "ordinary" is remotely the right word to use for such an endeavor -- with a lot of background on the history of the mountain and its climbers, and a lot of detail about what an Everest attempt entails. Towards the end of the account, when disaster begins to strike in earnest, he continues to attempt to give as objective an account as he can muster, but also shares the depth of his survivor's guilt and his anguish at the role that he played in events.

What's particularly interesting about those events is that there are no obvious lessons to take from them, and no clear, simple narrative about actions A, B, and C leading to disastrous consequences X, Y, and Z. Instead, a lot of things just happened: weather, illness, bad choices and misperceptions by exhausted, oxygen-starved people.

My personal take-away from this narrative, honestly, is that attempting to climb Everest is a fundamentally crazy, even self-destructive act. Not because it's a harsh, dangerous environment where rescue in the event of disaster may be impossible, but because it's a harsh, dangerous, difficult-to-be-rescued-from environment where the human mind and body are not capable of proper functioning. But it's one that has just enough of a chance of not actually killing you that people insist on trying it anyway. Which I'd say makes it much worse place than, say, Mars. Nobody's going to try exploring Mars without proper life-support technology.

Well, that's one of my personal take-aways, anyway. The other one involves never, ever taking the life-giving sweetness of oxygen for granted again. I swear, the entire time I was reading this thing, I felt short of breath. ( )
1 vote bragan | Jan 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
An experienced climber himself, Mr. Krakauer gives us both a tactile appreciation of the dangerous allure of mountaineering and a compelling chronicle of the bad luck, bad judgment and doomed heroism that led to the deaths of his climbing companions.
 
it is impossible to finish this book unmoved and impossible to forget for a moment that its author would have given anything not to have to write it.
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Krakauer, Jonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Karl, AnitaMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perria, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackliff, RandyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Men play at tragedy because they do not believe in the reality of the tragey which is actually being staged in the civilised world. --José Ortega y Gasset
Dedication
For Linda; and in memory of Andy Harris, Doug Hansen, Rob Hall, Yasuko Namba, Scott Fischer, Ngawang Topche Sherpa, Chen Yu-Nana, Bruce Herrod, and Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa
First words
Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently down at the vastness of Tibet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please distinguish between print editions of Jon Krakauer's 1997 memoir, Into Thin Air, and the abridged audio version. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385494785, Paperback)

A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster. With more than 250 black-and-white photographs taken by various expedition members and an enlightening new postscript by the author, the Illustrated Edition shows readers what this tragic climb looked like and potentially provides closure for Krakauer and his detractors.

"I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in a postscript dated August 1998. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev's version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in a avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I. Krakauer further buries the ice axe by donating his share of royalties from sales of The Illustrated Edition to the Everest '96 Memorial Fund, which aids various environmental and humanitarian charities. --Rob McDonald

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:57 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A history of Mount Everest expedition is intertwined with the disastrous expedition the author was a part of, during which five members were killed by a hurricane-strength blizzard. 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. 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 in a desperate struggle 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. 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 eye-witness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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