Monday, June 24, 2013

From Years Past: Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

           Jon Krakauer is an experienced climber who was offered the chance of a lifetime to climb Mount Everest, expenses paid, to write an article for Outside magazine. He made it to the top of Mount Everest and back to base camp alive, but he was one of the lucky ones. Nine other climbers died that day on Mount Everest. Another three died soon after. A rogue storm blew through the mountain with little warning and the unlucky ones perished trying to achieve their dreams.

          The Mount Everest Disaster is described in detail by one of the survivors, Jon Krakauer. He describes what it was like for him that day, and the preceding weeks trying to prepare to climb Mount Everest. He explains the choices one had to make to survive, and what it was like to wait, not sure of how many would return once the storm blew in. The view from Krakauer eye’s and the experience he details for many will leave the heart racing but for the others it will leave the question why? Why go through a such a dangerous feat when life is not guaranteed? Why test a mountain that might not mean to be climbed? But that answer can be found easily in his pages. It was for the thrill. It was for the sense of accomplishment. It was because man has and can climb the mountain. The fear exists for him, especially since traces of those who have failed, the bodies of those who could not be brought down stay in plain view on the mountain frozen in time, but the goal is to conquer that fear. Some succeed at that goal, but during his experience many failed.

          Into Thin Air is an extremely interesting read, especially for those that are in any way fascinated by climbing Mount Everest. But it is also extremely disparaging to read about the condition people put their body through to accomplish this task. Its not for the light hearted as is made clear by this book. Two experienced guides perished during this disaster and that fact alone will make plenty think twice. Jon Krakauer delivers his own experience with an informative and captivating tone. He tells his story the only way his knows how: honestly, and he makes you want to finish this journey with him.