creating out thin air

Into Thin Air


Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is a bestselling non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer. It details the author's May 10, 1996 ascent of Mount Everest, which turned catastrophic when eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a 'rogue storm'. The author's expedition was led by the famed guide Rob Hall, and there were other groups trying to summit on the same day, including one led by Scott Fischer, whose guiding agency, Mountain Madness, was perceived as a competitor to Rob Hall's agency, Adventure Consultants The book was adapted into a 1997 TV movie named Into Thin Air: Deaths on Everest starring Peter Horton as Scott Fischer and Christopher McDonald as Jon Krakauer. The book and the film both contain the same strong editorial viewpoint regarding the fundamental causes of the tragedy, although the film differs sharply from the book in details regarding responsibility.


In the book, Krakauer writes about the events leading up to his eventual decision to participate in an Everest expedition, despite having mostly given up mountain climbing years ago. Initially, Krakauer, being a journalist for adventure magazine Outside, stated that his intentions to climb Everest were purely professional. The original magazine story was to have Krakauer climb only to base camp, and report on the commercialization of the mountain. However, the idea of Everest grabbed him and reawakened his childhood desire for climbing the mountain. Krakauer asked his editor to put off the story for a year so that he could train for a climb to the summit. From there, the book chronologically moves between events that take place on the mountain and the unfolding tragedy which takes place during the push to the summit. In the book, Krakauer alleges that essential safety methods adopted over the years by experienced guides on Everest are sometimes compromised by the competition between rival guiding agencies to get their clients (some with little or no mountaineering experience) to the summit.

One of the most dramatic and well-known stories in the book is the experience of Beck Weathers. Comatose and twice left for dead by other climbers, Weathers suddenly awakened after more than 12 hours of lying in the sub-zero temperatures. In spite of horrific frostbite on his hands and face, Weathers got to his feet and staggered into camp. Every climber was shocked at his survival, and after a dangerous high-altitude helicopter rescue, Weathers made it off the mountain alive.

See also


Anatoli Boukreev "The Climb". A critical analysis of the Adventure Consultants team and an alternative explanation to the events of those few days on Everest

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