Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

by Random House


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  • Author: Jon Krakauer
  • ISBN: 9780385494786
  • A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the
    summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm,
    which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the
    impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster. With more than 250 black-and-white
    photographs taken by various expedition members and an enlightening new postscript by the author, the Illustrated
    Edition shows readers what this tragic climb looked like and potentially provides closure for Krakauer and his
    detractors.

    "I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in a postscript dated August
    1998. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor
    decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his
    clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than
    continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is
    conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev's version of
    events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two
    weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev,
    but the Russian later died in a avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I. Krakauer further buries the ice axe by
    donating his share of royalties from sales of The Illustrated Edition to the Everest '96 Memorial Fund, which aids
    various environmental and humanitarian charities. --Rob McDonald

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