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Into Thin Air

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  418,345 ratings  ·  14,488 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
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published (first published May 1st 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 t…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)
Elena Šuvadová There are two reasons why the bodies stay on the mountain. Firstly, it is indeed very costly to remove the bodies and the task also imposes many risks…moreThere are two reasons why the bodies stay on the mountain. Firstly, it is indeed very costly to remove the bodies and the task also imposes many risks to the climbers carrying the bodies down. Any physical labour at that altitude becomes almost impossible. Secondly, some climbers who devoted their lives to the mountains remain there per their final wishes. (less)

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


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 an
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i havent left my house in 37 days and i think its finally getting to me because, after reading this, i immediately thought, ‘climbing everest sounds like fun.’

its official - ive gone insane.


i feel beyond guilty for finding so much fascination with what was the most horrific moment in krakauers life. i am a terrible human, but i honestly couldnt put this down.

there is just something about krakauers writing that makes me think his grocery lists are equally alluring. an

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
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
Petra X in quarantine again with her kitties
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.

It's also disappointing because few individuals do it by themselves, without
Oct 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note to self: take climbing Everest off bucket list.
“[T]he 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 the slopes ...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
This book suddenly became very relevant - no less than TEN climbers have died this week (18-25 May 2019) on Everest. The reason for this horrible turn of events is given as inexperienced guides leading inexperienced climbers combined with the usual weather restrictions leading to these ghastly insane queueing situations :

Yes, that's the top of the highest mountain in the world.

Anyway, original review follows :


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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“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
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. ...more
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, owned
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is a 1997 bestselling non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer.

It details Krakauer's experience in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a storm.

Krakauer's expedition was led by guide Rob Hall. Other groups were trying to summit on the same day, including one led by Scott Fischer, whose guiding agency, Mountain Madness, was perceived as a c
Dave Schaafsma
I call attention to Paul Bryant's entertaining review of this book:

Which itself calls attention to the several people who have died on Everest in the past WEEK, not dissuaded by this story, obviously, which every climber knows well in multiple versions. This is the thing about risk-takers, death-defiers, mountain climbers, they must do what they must do.

I love this book. I listened to it on a road trip from Chicago to New Orleans on my spring break, 2004.
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! :) ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story that sounds too unlikely, too cinematic, to make up. In 1996, journalist and mountain climber Jon Kraukauer was assigned to cover an Everest ascent expedition, and chronicle the experiences of people – some experienced climbers, some not - who paid a small fortune for the chance at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Kraukauer was a member of one of three American-led climbing teams that would attempt to climb to the summit of Mt. Everest. By the time the teams made their way back ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Arah-Leah Hay
Shelves: i-said, top, 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
Elyse  Walters
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
Into Thin Air is a recollection of the tragic events of May 1996, when numerous individuals died following an ascent to the top of Everest. It is told by Jon Krakauer, a journalist and mountaineer who initially joined the expedition to write a magazine piece on the growing industry of 'guided' groups of inexperienced mountaineers.

This was a fascinating memoir, that really delves deep into the disaster and the small moments of bad luck and judgement that contributed to so much death. Krakauer rea
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
Until 2014, one of the trail markers for mountaineers climbing the Everest on the main Northeast ridge route was "Green Boots", the corpse of a man wearing, well, green climbing boots - yes, a dead man was an Everest landmark, and people passed him by and photographed him (I will certainly not provide links). Most likely, it was the body of Head Constable Tsewang Paljor of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police who was part of an expedition that happened in the background of the 1996 Mount Everest disas ...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
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
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Jon

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: “ . . . what
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic, memoir
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
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.
David Putnam
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, read it years ago. The phone call to the wife from the mountain was chilling and monumentally sad.

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
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
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I honestly feel weird rating this because it is a personal account of a very tragic event, but this really didn't do much for me. It wasn't a bad book, but it definitely wasn't for me. ...more
Whitney Atkinson
When I picked up this book, I thought it was going to be Jon merely researching and giving account of what happened on a Mount Everest hike as a journalist, not as someone who climbed the mountain. Lo and behold, he did!! Reason number #93824 why I could never be a journalist--it requires such menial tasks as, oh i don't know, CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST??!?!?!?!

That aside, this book captured me. I know very little about hiking Everest other than the documentary on Netflix, so this gave a good overv
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Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.

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