Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air was on my “do read list” for awhile and I finally got around to picking it up. I was excited because I loved, absolutely loved the author’s first book, Into the Wild.

Into Thin Air is about the author, Jon Krakauer, and his personal account of climbing Mount Everest and the ensuing disaster which takes the lives of 8 deaths. He explains in great detail the events from arriving at the Mt Everest Base Camp, to the various “teams” bidding for the summit, and the grueling task of climbing to an oxygen starved 29,002 ft summit. The expedition was marred by death, including two of the author’s guides and two of his teammates.

One of the many favorite passages:

Unfortunately, the sort of individual who is programmed to ignore personal distress and keep pushing for the top is frequently programmed to disregard signs of grave and imminent danger as well. This forms the nub of a dilemma that every Everest climber eventually coms up against: in order to succeed you must be exceedingly driven, but if you’re too driven you’re likely to die. Above 26,000 feet, moreover, the line between appropriate zeal and reckless summit fever becomes grievously thin. Thus the slopes of Everest are littered with corpses.

Once I got into the book, it was hard to put down. One of those where you force yourself to stay awake at night to keep reading.