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Into Thin Air

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  315,501 Ratings  ·  11,155 Reviews
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 the perilous descent from 29,028 feet (roughly the cruising altitude of an Airbus jetliner), twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly to the top, u ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published November 12th 1998 by Anchor (first published 1997)
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J.H. Moncrieff Novel, definitely. I found it almost impossible to put this book down. While there is quite a bit of technical info, as Karis said, I never found it…moreNovel, definitely. I found it almost impossible to put this book down. While there is quite a bit of technical info, as Karis said, I never found it too much or that it slowed down the story.

And I'm not typically interested in mountaineering at all. Krakauer's story is one of humanity and survival at its heart.(less)
Raghavendra Nandyala It is very difficult to bring bodies and involves too much risk because of the environment. Descending carrying a weight with almost no air and…moreIt is very difficult to bring bodies and involves too much risk because of the environment. Descending carrying a weight with almost no air and obstructed vision is a big task.(less)

Community Reviews

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Cassy
Life got you down? Then join us on a guided expedition led by Capital Idiocy Inc. as we climb to...

The Summit of MOUNT EVEREST

For the bargain price of $65,000,[1] we will take you on the adventure of a lifetime full of scenic views,[2] camaraderie,[3] and athleticism.[4]

Worried that you lack the necessary climbing experience?
Don’t be discouraged![5] While Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, it is not the most technically challenging climb. And in addition to our expertise and
...more
karen
RELEASE THE KRAKAUER!!!!


seriously, it is time to just raze everest and be done with it already. i mean, it's big and impressive but it is just taking up all this room and killing people so why do we even need it anymore?? can't we just get over it? really, i think it has reached its peak and is all downhill from here.

shameless punning aside.

so this started out as an article that KRAKAUER was asked to write for outside magazine about the commercialization of everest. it should embarrass us that s
...more
Brigette
Jun 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently attended the Banff mountain film festival in Canada. One of the key speakers was Simone Moro, the close friend of Anatoli Boukreev, the climber who was killed in an avalanche several years ago on Annapurna and whom Krakauer pretty much vilifies in this book as not having done enough to save the lives of those caught in the blizzard on Mount Everest in May of 1996. Needless to say, the vibe in the room was chilly whenever the subject of Krakauer's version of events came up; he was accu ...more
Michelle
Nov 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mountaineers, adventure lovers, crazy people
Shelves: non-fiction
This is not a review. I don’t feel like writing a review for this book, but I feel like I should at least say something about it because I did enjoy it. I mean, it did make me utter “Jesus Christ” out loud more than one time, and I don’t often talk to myself while I am reading a book.

(I almost want to post a picture of a LOLcat with a caption that says “This buk wuz gud,” but I don’t have one.)

So…These are a few things I learned from reading this book:

1. If a person decides to climb Everest, the
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“Everest has always been a magnet for kooks, publicity seekers, hopeless romantics, and others with a shaky hold on reality.”

Chicago commercial photographers

Welcome to one of Kelly’s creepy obsessions! (Advance apologies - this might get rambly.) Okay, so I’m totally obsessed with all things Everest and CAN. NOT. WAIT. to see the movie that details the same tragic events which are covered in this book (even though just watching the preview in IMAX 3-D made me have
...more
Michael
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly harrowing and propulsive. I could not put this book down. This is another book that details people's misguided quests to conquer nature--to see nature as something to be conquered. It's also another great cold-weather read, to make you realize that, really, it's not so cold out after all.
Maxwell
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of non-fiction. I prefer to listen to podcasts or interviews, rather than read straight-up non-fiction about a certain topic. And as someone who isn't particularly interested in climbing or sports in general, this wouldn't be a book that I'd normally read. But I'm so glad that I did.

It definitely reads more like a memoir, since the author was present for the events of the story. That made it a much more palatable read for me, rather than a
...more
Petra X
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Into Thin Air or Injustice (of many kinds) on the Mountain.

Until almost the end this book was exactly as I expected it to be with just one exception. It was the story of a journalist climbing Mount Everest both as a journalist and as a mountaineer. Ideal getting paid to do your hobby! It was interesting because Krakauer is a damn good writer and because its fascinating to see the details of how the mountain is climbed. Its also disappointing because few individuals do it by themselves, without a
...more
Katie
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a read to start 2018! I enjoyed the majority of this, and I'll admit I fell down a bit of a black hole when it came to the controversy behind Krakauer's perspective. Review will be up tomorrow! :)
Steve
Oct 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note to self: take climbing Everest off bucket list.
Arah-Lynda
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Arah-Leah Hay
Shelves: top, i-said, lets-get-real
Several authors and editors I respect counseled me not to write the book as quickly as I did; they urged me to wait two or three years and put some distance between me and the expedition in order to gain some crucial perspective. Their advice was sound, but in the end I ignored it- mostly because what happened on the mountain was gnawing my guts out. I thought that writing the book might purge Everest from my life. It hasn’t of course.

But it is the way this reads, as Jon Krakauer, a client of R
...more
Elyse
I can't even imagine how Jon Krakauer was able to write this story which came out
in 2007, just one year after the deadly expedition in May 1996....where nine climbers
were killed on Mount Everest.

Krakauer is an astonishing journalist, and writer. His telling 'this' story was particularly
compelling being an experienced climber himself. He was physically there when the tragedy took place.

"Descending from Camp Four after the storm, at 25,000 feet, Krakauer turned to look back
at the upper reach
...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was well told. At times I felt oxygen deprived and often this made me unaware of tragedy. I am not a huge fan of non-fiction but this is worth a read.
Paul Bryant
This is the most defaced book I ever read. It must have been used in a school at one point. Up to page 69 there are two different people highlighting passages in pink and green but then in the margins, suddenly there is this:

Katie is Eric’s fave, to bad for him, he is silly, I hope he’s a good kisser

And then on page 77, which otherwise would be blank:

This is the most boring book I have ever read, I swear if anyone read this book by choice they are the biggest idiot in the world
Jason is such a do
...more
Scott
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fic
Does your dream holiday involve spending north of fifty grand to risk a fatal aneurysm, walk past the dead bodies of weaker adventurers who’ve come before you and possibly lose your fingers, toes and nose, if not your life? If so, then step right up to climb Mount Everest!

Seriously though, If you’ve ever thought you might like to climb Everest, read this book. If you still want to attempt the highest mountain in the world after finishing Into Thin Air, you are a braver person than I.

This is a ma
...more
Duane
Jon Krakauer standing on the summit of Mt. Everest.

"Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice out of my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared down into the vastness of Tibet".

You have heard the saying, "truth is stranger than fiction". In this case truth is more frightening, more compelling than fiction. This is the first hand account of the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest that claimed the lives of 12 mountaineers, many of the
...more
Kim
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-realz
Read within the span of 10 hours. This is not a hard read, well, if you take out the subject matter.
I picked this up because 'Into the Wild' has been out or on hold for months at the library so I thought I'd at least get a feel for Jon Krakauer's writing style.
I also have to admit that it wasn't the writing style that sold me, not that it isn't well done, but usually I'm not drawn to 'personal accounts' or non-fiction, in general, unless it is a subject that really fascinates me. I'm an escapi
...more
Caroline
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Jon
***NO SPOILERS***

May 10, 1996 was a very, very bad day to be climbing to “the roof of the world.” On that day, journalist and avid mountain climber Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest with a group as part of a guided expedition. He was on assignment for “Outside” magazine and was one of the few in his group to survive this expedition after a ferocious storm hit out of the blue. Into Thin Air is as much a meticulous detailing of this tragedy as it is a personal catharsis, and he says
...more
Tatiana
Sep 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
If Krakauer's intention was to kill all of our romantic ideas about mountain climbing with this book, he undoubtedly succeeded. Whatever idealistic notions of bravery, athleticism, adventure, and brotherhood I had about this "sport", are now gone forever.

What Krakauer delivers instead is a very tough picture of people who are ready to risk their lives and lives of those around them (guides, Sherpas, rescue workers) for the purpose of satisfying some masochistic macho aspirations of theirs or, ev
...more
Ginger
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, audio
I absolutely loved this!! I had a feeling that I would due to my personal experience hiking and climbing in the Pacific Northwest region.

"Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?"
This question was asked of George Leigh Mallory, a Himalayan mountain climber in 1921.
And his answer was,
"Because it’s there."

This might not make sense to someone who’s not into this sport or adventure, but to me, I get it.
Why do I test myself on grueling 4500’ elevation hikes or scrambles?

Well, to get to the top!
To cha
...more
Natalie Vellacott
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is probably the best climbing book I have read despite the controversy surrounding some aspects. It was as enthralling as books like Endurance and as readable. I was with the author on the mountain and felt the terrible pain of the losses they endured, the guilt of the survivors and the many "what ifs" after the event.

The author relays his personal experiences climbing Everest in 1996 with a number of groups. This was the tragic year when many of the participants didn't make it off the moun
...more
The Red Panda
I'm just going to come out and say it: I just don't get it.

Even after reading this book, I just cannot understand why anybody would want to climb Everest. If nobody had ever done it before, I could understand it from the perspective of exploration and new discoveries, but this is a mountain that has now been climbed so often it has a serious garbage problem. From Jon Krakauer's descriptions in this book, it actually sounds like a bit of a shithole (or the opposite of a hole, I suppose).

Krakauer
...more
Brandon
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About a year ago, I read a book called Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth which was basically all about finding the basement of the earth. A group of cave divers descended into a seemingly bottomless cave full of all sorts of unknown danger. For some reason after finishing it, I didn’t return to any exploration books even though this tale fascinated me. It wasn’t until recently when I listened to an episode of Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s SModcast in which Mosier r ...more
Greg
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what shelf to put this on. So I made up a new one, lacking the number of characters needed, this shelf should be called, true stories about things I would never do or try to do. But maybe that is a lie. Like Krakauer I too have had a near death experience while engaged in 'climbing', like the doomed people in this book, my own life was possibly endangered by faulty decisions made by those who are being paid to know better. My own experience is pretty undramatic, and was rectified i ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I started this year with one fantastic book. Let me say that you do not have to be interested in mountain climbing to enjoy this true story of the 1996 tragedy on Mount Everest, written by one who was there. It is an amazing story and will have you still asking the question "why does man climb mountains". Someone once said "because they are there" but that really isn't the answer. I have put a quote by a famous mountaineer at the end of this review which partially explains that enigma

The author
...more
Randy
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jon Krakauer is a student of extreme behaviors and those who engage in them, and he happened to be on Mt. Everest during the notorious May 10-11, 1996, disaster. A series of seemingly minor mishaps, oversights, and questionable decisions kept climbers moving up the mountain hours later than any reasonable turnaround time. At 29,000 feet, that would have been bad enough given cold, hypoxia, and a finite supply of supplemental oxygen, but an unexpected storm that moved in from the south turned a p ...more
Alisa
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I live in Seattle and on a reasonably clear day Mount Rainier, at 14,000+ feet, graces the skyline with her majestic beauty and mystique. Sometimes it looks like you can reach out and touch it. It has an undeniable allure. There are lots and lots of climbers up there every year, and it is a highly desirable North American peak for people to scale that still offers challenge and excitement and danger. High altitude mountain climbing is not for the faint of heart yet it is easy to understand how p ...more
Alissa Patrick
This book was insane. No way in hell. These people are nuts.
Algernon
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

My 5 star rating reflects both the quality of the book and a lifetime passion for mountains. I've devoured in the past all books and magazine articles I could find, following climbers from Cerro Torres to Eiger or Matterhorn, Trango Towers, Kilimanjaro or McKinley. The Jewels in the Crown have always been the Himalayan peaks, with their musical names promising adventure and fame to the bold and determined climber: Nanga Parbat, Makalu, Annapurna, Kangchenjunga, Chomolungma, Lhotse, Dhaulagiri, G
...more
Viv JM
Unfortunately, the sort of individual who is programmed to ignore personal distress and keep pushing for the top is frequently programmed to disregard signs of grave and imminent danger as well. This forms the nub of a dilemma that every Everest climber eventually comes up against: in order to succeed you must be exceedingly driven, but if you're too driven you're likely to die. Above 26,000 feet, moreover, the line between appropriate zeal and reckless summit fever becomes grievously thin. Thus ...more
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7,659 followers
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.

https://www.facebook.com/jonkrakauer
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“Getting to the top of any given mountain was considered much less important than how one got there: prestige was earned by tackling the most unforgiving routes with minimal equipment, in the boldest style imaginable.” 48 likes
“It was titillating to brush up against the enigma of mortality, to steal a glimpse across its forbidden frontier. Climbing was a magnificient activity, I firmly believed, not in spite of the inherent perils, but precisely because of them.” 39 likes
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