This blog is dedicated to the amazing staff at the New Canaan Public Library in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, 1997, * * * * *

On May 10, 1996, writer Jon Krakauer found himself quite literally on top of the world  when Outside Magazine sent him to Nepal to climb Mount Everest on a guided expedition and write about it.  Krakauer thought he had a good angle.  In the 43 years since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had become the first men to reach the 29,028-foot summit, Everest had become perceived as so routinely surmountable that a trip to the top was available to any fit climber with some mountaineering ability and the $65,000 cost of an expedition ticket. ''Hey, experience is overrated,'' guide Scott Fischer told him. ''We've got the Big E figured out....I'm telling you, we've built a yellow brick road to the summit.''   As Into Thin Air makes painfully clear, getting to the top is only half the battle, and overconfidence may be a good climber's most lethal enemy. Hours after Krakauer summited Everest  a storm led to the deaths of two of his teammates as well as their guides, Rob Hall and Andy Harris, plus Fischer himself, who was leading a separate group up the mountain.  Krakauer explores camaraderie of climbers, the commercialization of Everest, and the all-too-exploitable culture of the Sherpas, who are hired to haul equipment, supplies, and sometimes climbers as well. You are with him every step by debilitating step. 

No comments:

Post a Comment