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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt.…

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

by Jon Krakauer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,537213304 (4.18)248
Recently added byDCL54, pintis, rude_ravenclaw16, private library, TCReynolds, JacquieS_17, stephb6, Jadedog13
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: Ventures Among Men and Mountains 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 248 mentions

English (208)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (213)
Showing 1-5 of 208 (next | show all)
nto Thin Air is s a personal chronicle detailing Jon Krakauer's presence at Mount Everest during the 1996 disaster. (10-11 May 1996), when eight died in blizzard on Mount Everest, during summit attempts.

May 10, 1996....Jon Krakauer was climbing with one of the three teams on the Southeast Ridge of Mount Everest when the storm struck.

"For weeks, the tragedy drew international press attention and it remains the worst disaster in the mountain's history.

The disaster gained wide publicity and raised questions about the commercialization of Everest."

4 ★ ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 27, 2016 |
Great read especially when combined with National Geographic's documentary of the same events, a must see on IMAX at the Science Museum.[br/][br/]jerry-book ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Although Mount Everest has defied human attempts to conquer it for more than a century and one person has died for every four who make it to the top, Everest has, in recent years, come to seem more accessible. In 1993, 40 climbers reached the summit on one day alone. On May 10, 1996, both Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, along with another Adventure Consultants guide and two clients died in a sudden blizzard that swept across the mountain. By the end of the month, a record 12 climbers had lost their lives on the mountain.

Having joined Hall's group to do an Outside magazine article on the growing commercialization of Everest, Krakauer describes a harrowing account of the disaster as it unfolded hour by hour. An experienced climber himself, Krakauer gives us both an 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. Krakauer acknowledges that human errors were made. Charging fee of up to $65,000 per climber and intent on getting their people to the summit, the guides, already exhausted from shepherding their less competent clients, ignored the turnaround time of 2 pm they had set to reach safe ground by night. Both Fischer and Hall had a lot to gain by delivering on their promise of a successful ascent: publicity, renown and more clients down the line.

The book is raw, powerful and filled with emotion. It is not, however, an uplifting story. There are too many climbers’ errors, inhumane reactions and abdications of humane assistance to others. The story of a great failure can easily be more readable as well as more useful that one of a great success. I plan to rush out and get some other books by this author. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Krakauer's recounting of the events that took place in May, 1996, on Mt. Everest is harrowing, tragic and engrossing all at the same time. Although several of the people who died while attempting to reach the summit were seasoned veterans an unexpected hurricane-force storm above 28,000 feet was too much for them to overcome. Oxygen deprivation at these heights caused several fatal lapses in judgement not only by climbing neophytes but also by three of the mountain guides, two of whom were the leaders of their teams. Along with the tragedy there were also tales of survival against the greatest odds. One climber who had twice been given up for dead managed to descend low enough for a helicopter rescue, although frostbite took quite a toll on his body.

I learned so much from this book. Who would have ever thought that such an enormous accumulation of trash has become an environmental issue on Mt. Everest? It never occured to me that litter would be a problem on the world's highest peak. Nor did I realize how expensive it is to climb the mountain. I guess I was naive in thinking it would be free except for supplies but China and Nepal charge into the 5 figures for climbing permits. Also surprising is how many people are on the mountain at the same time. Of course the climbing season is limited to when the weather is the most predicatable and calm but it just seemed like there was a steady stream of people hooking onto the ropes and ratcheting their way up the mountainside.

I enjoyed this book so much even though I do not understand the allure of risking one's life to reach mountain summits. But for those who do I'm sure Mt. Everest is their utmost desire.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
I just love mountaineering books. ( )
  c18913 | Jan 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 208 (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 (13 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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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
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
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:00 -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)

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