Travel Book

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer | a book review

By on November 10, 2013

krakauer - into thin air (cover)

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.
krakauer - into thin air

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.

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3 Comments
  1. Reply

    Mustachio

    November 10, 2013

    What a battered copy you have! 🙂 I like this book. I think I read this 10 or so years ago 😀 This got me reading other books about that tragedy. I think I have three more books about the same event, though none as good as Krakauer's book.

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      November 10, 2013

      I got this one from a colleague. Because I enjoyed it immensely, I requested him to 'give it away' to me. 🙂 I have Boukreev's The Climb on queue.

      Have you read any from Viesturs?

    • Reply

      Mustachio

      November 11, 2013

      Nope, haven't read Viesturs' book. I've only read The Climb (Boukreev), Left for Dead (Weathers), and Within Reach: My Everest Story (Mark Pfetzer). Ingna lang ko if you wanna borrow 🙂

      Though not about the same event, I would also recommend Alive by Piers Paul Read and Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado. Both books are about the plane carrying a team of rugby players that crashed in the Andes in 1972 and how some of them survived.

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Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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