First Third of “Into Thin Air” – Jon Krakauer

The novel Into Thin Air written by Jon Krakauer is a non-fictional book based on the ’96 Mount Everest disaster that left several dead. Jon Krakauer was born in 1954 in Oregon. He was introduced to being a mountaineer by his father.

The novel takes place May 10, 1996 when Krakauer is at the peak of Mt Everest a roaring 29 028 feet in the air. Chapter one takes place during the middle of being trapped with 6 climbers already dead. Where at the top of Mt Everest with all sorts of difficulties hitting him such as; separated ribs from the intense coughing, and troubles breathing. He states “weeks of violent coughing had left me with two separated ribs that made ordinary breathing an excruciating trial” (Krakauer,8). Throughout he starts thinking about what he will have to answer to when he gets back down. After being on top, he starts to make his lengthly climb back down the mountain to safety.



After the first chapter, the book starts giving off the history of Mt Everest. Starting in 1852 where he explains the myths and the factor of Everest being born. Where as shortly after realizing it is in fact the highest mountain and it is only a matter of time before people are crazy enough to attempt to climb it.

I find that the way Krakauer writes after reading the first handful of chapters he is going for an interest for a specific audience. Whereas other authors go for a more broad audience, Krakauer narrows his audience to what he refers to as “dreamers” which are people who have or at least thought about climbing mountains. I believe he refers to the “dreamers” because who in their right mind would decide to spend the wages to climb a cold mountain huh? In fact, Krakauer has it in his blood. He is intrigued with the mountains.

Looking into short term aspects of the novel, I am worried of the safety of walking back down the mountain in the storm. While they already lost climbers “among my five teammates who reached the top, four, including Hall, perished in a rogue storm that blew in without warning while we were still high ion the peak”(Krakauer, Seattle, November 1996). I see more men dying and the capacity of their bodies to hit the limit.

Looking into long term, I can see Krakauer having contemplations with himself worried he will never make it back down and even if he did if he would want to deal with the consequences afterwards? If he even wants to live while he lost so many colleagues of his already in the storm?

While reading the book I was continuously making connections with other books I have read, I found it similar to “Finest Hours” written by Michael J. Tougias. Which is taken place in 1952, where a boat that has broke down in the Atlantic Ocean and a rescue team had to go out at night into the storm to find these men and save them. It is still referred to, to this day, the greatest small boat rescue.

Throughout reading this book I found that the details where very precise which states that his memory of the story is still burned into his mind. He remembers thorough details about the scenes and instances.


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