Overcoming Difficulties shown in”Into Thin Air” – Jon Krakauer

The non-fictional novel Into Thin Air written by Jon Krakauer was published in late 1999 from Anchor Books. This story takes place 29 028 ft on the peak of Mount Everest.

Originally the story was an article for a magazine, where Krakauer was asked to climb Everest and write them an article with details on the mountain. Although, after the agreed time and place of where the article was to be written then sent it Krakauer decides his story wasn’t finished yet. He believed that he needed to know more, which meant he needed to get higher. Krakauer always dreamed about climbing Mount Everest which I believe this was his chance in doing so, therefore he took full advantage. He began contacting other climbers, involving them and getting their thoughts and information about the history on Everest. Although, the higher they got the more they realized that they were almost at the top. A storm came in from out of nowhere, there wasn’t any evidence signalling one to come it. It was a brutal storm and left the climbers to life and death, but that is where the story truly begins.

I found the storyline very interesting to where I believe it shows how if you have the right mindset then you can overcome any obstacle. Through putting something dangerous back in your life to having to face something severe and permanent.

Hobby by definition is “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure” (Google.ca). Krakauer’s hobby was originally climbing, although it shifted. At one point climbing was the base stone of his life, where as at another point he was referring it as a hobby, finally he just gave up on climbing in general. Yet, the call from Outside Magazine peaked his interest. A call came to Krakauer in March 1995, proposing if he would join a guided group departing unless than a week and for him to write at base camp only about the “mushrooming commercialization of the mountain” (Krakauer, 26). So, Krakauer went through all the trouble on getting the required immunizations and even booked the ticket before he decided he was not going. I mean what fun would it be for an experienced climber to go spend weeks at the base of the highest mountain in the world and be told you can not climb it? Therefore Krakauer had an idea, a bold one, but an idea. He calls up the magazine company of whom he’s wrote several articles to before and asked kindly if he would be given a year to prepare himself to the weather because he was determined to climb it, also he asked for them to pay the fee to safely be brought up and back along with booked guide services. I find this section in chapter 3 relatable to my thesis because it shows him overcoming the obstacle that was holding him away from the passion he loves.


Also, another point that shows overcoming obstacles is when Krakauer has come to the realization that most of his guides and fellow climbers have died in the storm. Where he faces the questions and authorities when he descends back to the ground. He begins pondering on what he may be asked

“…people would ask why, if the weather had begun to deteriorate, had climbers on the upper mountain not heeded the signs? Why did veteran Himalayan guides keep moving upward, ushering a gaggle of relatively inexperienced amateurs-each of whom had paid as much as $65 000 to be taken safely up Everest- into an apparent death trap?”(Krakauer, 8).

I believe that a difficult obstacle that Krakauer faced was leaving many bodies on the mountain while he was still alive and functioned. I feel like that would be the hardest thing to do, is know that you are alive and colleagues are dead. To me going back down to see the families all standing there waiting to see if their loved ones were one of the ones that lived would kill me inside. Therefore, I believe that moving past the fact of death to be the one to make it down and tell the families so they stop worrying would be the ultimate obstacle.


I found this novel very moving, as Krakauer shows strength and the stability needed to survive. I believe Krakauer shows highly thought of examples of overcoming obstacles throughout the disaster of ’96.


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