Into Thin Air – Bookcast #26

Into Thin Air (1997) by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Mount Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of the bestseller Into the Wild. On assignment for Outside Magazine, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas as a client of Rob Hall, the most respected high-altitude guide in the world.  A rangy, thirty-five-year-old New Zealander, Hall had summited Everest four times between 1990 and 1995 and had led thirty-nine climbers to the top. Ascending the mountain in close proximity to Hall’s team was a guided expedition led by Scott Fischer, a forty-year-old American with legendary strength and drive who had climbed the peak without supplemental oxygen in 1994. But neither Hall nor Fischer survived the rogue storm that struck in May 1996.

Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people — including himself — to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concerns of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense. Written with emotional clarity and supported by his unimpeachable reporting, Krakauer’s eyewitness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.

Read and listen to “Into Thin Air on Amazon!

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“Into Thin Air” Show Notes

  • What this book is about
    • Krakauer tells the stories of the ill-fated Mount Everest expeditions in May 1996 and the tragedy that followed.
  • What Krakauer sets out to do / Purpose of the book
    • As a member of the Mt. Everest summit party, Krakauer wrote this book to find catharsis as he dealt with the trauma of watching men and women die and attempted to reconstruct what went wrong and why.
  • What challenges/problems does it attempt to solve?
    • How and why men attempt deadly goals
    • How to overcome PTSD
  • The intended audience of the book / Who will benefit most:
    • Those interested in a good adventure story
    • Everest-philes
    • Those dealing with loss
    • People who read horror stories
    • Climbers
  • Who probably WON’T like “Into Thin Air”
    • People not interested in adventure
    • People who don’t like to go above sea level
    • Anyone who needs a happy ending
  • How does this book specifically benefit Men? 
    • Climbing Everest is exciting and incredibly dangerous. This book describes all the dangers and shows how to minimize them. It also shows how the fact that Everest IS deadly is part of the draw.
  • Is this book Easy, Average or Difficult to read? / How long is it?
    • Difficult subject – it starts at the end then mostly works through the events.
    • Print: 332 pages
    • Audio: 5 hrs and 58 mins – read by the author
    • Audio 9+ hours – read by Phillip Franklin
  • Is the book well-known? Popular? Significant?
  • Book-To-Movie Adaptation
    • There is a movie. We haven’t seen it but it doesn’t look good.
  • Short bio of Jon Krakauer
  • “Into Thin Air” Table of Contents / Breakdown of Themes
    • Commercialism on Everest
    • Trust Among Teammates
    • Loyalty Among Teammates
    • Questions That Cannot Be Answered

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Into Thin Air – Bookcast #26 1

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