This book is a first-hand account of a successful climb to the top of Mt Everest in 1996, a climbing season that ended as one of the deadliest on the mountain to date. Krakauer's tale was both compelling and tragic, as several of those who died on the mountain were teammates who had become friends in the many weeks they had prepared to make the ascent to the peak.
The author joined an Everest expedition as both an experienced mountain climber and a journalist, intending to explore the "commercialization" of the mountain. In years leading up to his trip, many had been critical of those who "bought" their way to the top, but were perhaps not physically fit enough to meet the rigorous demands. His tale is interspersed with researched facts about the “business” of climbing Everest, the environmental impact, the history of the mountain, and the social, spiritual and political issues in
I will say that if I had little inclination to attempt such a feat myself, I have absolutely none now. The author explains that those who make this trek do so knowing that to do so is to risk one's life... but do it anyway, admitting there is some irrationality to the decision. For the privilege of enduring two months in a hostile climate with no guarantees of reaching their goal, climbers pay up to $60-70,000 or more.* I was more than fascinated to simply read the story, enjoying immensely the opportunity to "visit" Everest through Krakauer's words and photos.
Into Thin Air
by Jon Krakauer
* Cost mentioned is at the time of the 1996 season – use your imagination to determine what the cost might be today….