Book Review | Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Back in January I kicked off 2022 reading challenge and finished Into Thin Air! And what a ride it was..

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
5 out of 5
Dates read: December 2021 to January 2022
Length: 352 pages
First published in 2011 by Pan Macmillan
Recommended by: The Bookshelf Raiders
Available to order from AmazonWaterstonesBookdepository

Trigger warnings: Graphic descriptions of injuries, death

Blurb: Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air is the true story of a 24-hour period on Everest, when members of three separate expeditions were caught in a storm and faced a battle against hurricane-force winds, exposure, and the effects of altitude, which ended in the worst single-season death toll in the peak’s history.
In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day, eight people were dead. Krakauer’s book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape.
As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author’s own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.

My thoughts: Into Thin Air is not for the faint hearted, and please, don’t let the speed of which took me to complete this book fool you. It didn’t take me a month to read it because it wasn’t great, quite the opposite – it’s just that I, too, needed to be acclimatised as I climbed with the rest of the crew to the top of the world and back from the safety and warmth of my own home.

I’ve always found the idea of climbing a mountain something out of this world; something I’d never be able to do. Yet, it’s always been fascinating to me and I’ve watched numerous documentaries about the subject.

Snowdon Journey 2021

However, I feel that my love for anything mountaineering really ignited in the 2021 summer when a group of us ventured into Wales and trekked up the, comparatively small but nevertheless challenging, Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia.

Before that, the steepest hill I’ve ever undertaken on foot was the walk up to Alexandra Palace in London! (I know, right!?)

On top of Snowdon 2021

Our journey started with beautiful sunshine and warm weather at the bottom of the mountain, which suddenly took a turn for the worst and we were met with ice cold rain and full force wind from about mid-way all the way up to the summit, where the visibility was no more than about 6 feet in front of us. (So much for the glorious view that we were expecting!).  But we all made it to and from the summit and despite the inconvenient weather, our experience cannot even be considered to be compared to anything that transpired at Mount Everest in May 1996.

But to get a glimpse of what it may have been like climbing to the top of the world- the good, the bad and the ugly, Into Thin Air will take you on an emotional journey all the way up the magnificent Chomolungma. Along with the author’s personal account of the 1996 tragedy on Mount Everest, a truly harrowing read!, Into Thin Air also includes a lot of mountaineering history, beautiful descriptions of the gorgeous landscapes and it just really is a fantastic piece of literature.

Kat x



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