Caitlin's Reviews > Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
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May 23, 09

bookshelves: 2009
Read in May, 2009

This is a book I have a pattern with: purchase, read, giveaway, rinse, repeat. I think this is the fourth or fifth copy I've had & the fourth or fifth time I've read it. I love this book. Krakauer's a great writer & the story is tragic on a grand scale.

I have very clear memories of when these awful events happened. I was working a graphic design job in a warehouse that looked out over a parking lot by Lake Union in Seattle. I had a little radio & would listen to NPR all day & that's where I heard the coverage of the people lost on the mountain & the attempts to rescue them & then the death toll. I remember it raining a lot during that time, but it was Seattle so it rained a lot all of the time. A friend of mine had a rock climbing housemate who knew Scott Fischer, one of the guides who died. The whole thing was heartbreaking & seemed so unnecessary.

Jon Krakauer was on Everest with Rob Hall's group as a journalist for Outside Magazine - to summit Everest & to write about the relatively new practice of commercial guided climbs on Everest. Like all of his books, Krakauer includes a fair amount of history - of mountain climbing, adventuring, & of Everest. He was one of the few people from the group that climbed that day that walked away alive & this book is definitely a survivor's meditation. There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding all of this - who did what when, who should've done what but didn't, who wanted to save his own ass more, who should never have been on the mountain. At the end of the day, though, I love this book - a tragedy that happens inch-by-inch as one decision after another adds up to disaster.
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