Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer | a book review
Into Thin Air is Jon Krakauer’s personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy. On May 1996, Everest claimed the lives of several climbers, some of which are experienced guides that have been to the world’s tallest mountain several times already.
What could have gone wrong and what may be done to avert similar tragedies in the future are narrated in this book. I say ‘could have’ because Krakauer’s account was not taken well by some. Aside from the victim’s loved ones, there is also Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian climber belonging to a rival guiding agency, who had a different side to his story.
Halfway through the book, I wondered myself what an Outdoor writer such as Jon was really doing in this particular Everest expedition. He did prepare hard for this climb so he was not a liability in any way to his team. But could he have done anything at all to prevent that tragedy in the first place? Thankfully, this question was addressed in the final chapters of the book.
While I have no ambitions of climbing Everest in my lifetime, I still found this book an interesting, gripping and important read. In Into Thin Air, Krakauer beautifully captured both the misunderstood loves and the hidden perils in climbing. Knowing then why you climb, be it Everest or not, is equally important as the techniques and the disciplines you must learn beforehand. These motives may push one to scale greater heights or may endanger his or her life by doing just that.