Into Thin Air: An Account of a Mount Everest Climbing Expedition Disaster

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Into Thin Air: An Account of a Mount Everest Climbing Expedition Disaster

This book is the true story, written by a man who was there, of an expedition seeking to climb up to the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest point of elevation above sea level. This mighty mountain has a peak so high that most climbers need to wear oxygen masks, and the climb is so dangerous that one person dies for every seventeen who reach the summit.

Think of this: The height of the peak of Mount Everest is 5.5 miles (8.8 km) above sea level. The air is so thin (hence the name of the book) that there is only about one-third as much oxygen available at the summit, compared with sea level.

With the mountain located in the Himalayas on the border of Nepal and China, the expedition begins in Nepal and follows a large group that gets progressively smaller during the climb as some turn back. There was an IMAX crew present, who filmed Everest.

Jon Krakauer explains how even advanced climbers with many years of experience knowingly risk their lives to climb the mountain, and on this occasion a tragedy occurred when a vicious storm high on the mountain resulted in eight people losing their lives, and others being permanently injured. One climber who perished was the very experienced leader of the group, Rob Hall.

The book was so incredible to read. Two of the climbers are cousins of mine, and they are mentioned in the book as turning back partway up the mountain. The descriptions of the mountain, and the extreme challenge of climbing it, and the specialized gear, were all amazing.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, and it will really give you an idea of how crazy the sport of mountaineering can get. Climbing the world’s tallest peaks is one of the most dangerous sports there is.

The events in this book took place in 1996. The incredible IMAX film was released in 1998. One other book was written by another climber about these same events.


Jonathan Nielsen writes for InfoBarrel as TanoCalvenoa. He is a geographer by degree and loves the natural sciences, especially the Earth sciences, astronomy, zoology, and paleontology. He is also an artist, juggler, and guitarist.


Author: Jackie Jackson

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  1. What a great review Jonathan, I’m putting this one on my list. These people are a special breed, as this is surely a brutal sport. The highest I ever climb is into my bed every night, and that’s the way I like it. Thanks for the review.

  2. This is an awesome book and I cannot wait to read it. It is bad enough to rough this climb as a person who does not have any health or disabilities. My hero and a climber whom I have followed for 20 years – Blind climber Erik Weihenmayer… Here is his link. Great article Jonathan!

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