Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air is a heartbreaking account of the 1996 Mt Everest disaster. Written by Jon Krakauer, an accomplished climber and Journalist.

The 1996 disaster was one of the worst tragedies Mt Everest has ever seen. In Nepal standing at 29,029ft above sea level is the summit of Mt Everest. The worlds tallest mountain.

Everest is a Mecca for mountaineers and amateur climbers from around the world. With over 200 bodies lying where they fell, no one can claim that is safe to climb.

As commercial climbing came to fruition in the early 90’s many people believed it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air chronicles the summit attempts of climbing teams during the 1996 climbing season. Jon a climber and journalist joined Adventure Consultants led by mountaineer Rob Hall. Not only to write an article about the commercialisation of Mt Everest but to also fulfil his boy hood dream of summiting the worlds tallest mountain.

Jon’s account takes you through the acclimatization process, the partial climbs and descents, the friendships made on the mountain as well as the tragedy that unfolded and the fallout for those involved.

Rob Hall’s Adventure Consultants and Scott Fischer’s Mountain Madness were rival companies that teamed up due to the overwhelming number of teams on the mountain in 1996. Agreeing to work together to share the load in hopes of getting all their clients to the top and down safely.

Jon’s book details the decisions and circumstances that led to the death of 8 people. This vivid and compelling account puts you at the scene of some of the most heartbreaking moments you will ever read. The utter helplessness of the climbers when faced with the mountain and the elements. The fear of dying and forever remaining where you lay. To the gut wrenching phone call between Rob Hall and his pregnant wife as he lay high on Everest unable to be saved.

Many books have been written about the 1996 Mt Everest disaster. Many different views of what went wrong and who was to blame. Into Thin Air is one man’s recollection of the event, With input from people who were on the mountain at the time.

Jon does well in recounting his experience and laying out the facts as he saw and remembers without trying to point blame. His Journalism background shows through while reading this book. The structure, background and emotional connectivity draw you in from start to finish.

This haunting account of a truly devastating event is definitely going to stay with me.

Whatever your knowledge of the Everest Disaster or your opinions on commercialised climbing this book is a must read.

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