Chapter Chats: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
There is no other way to put it; Jon Krakauer’s, ‘Into Thin Air‘ is thrilling. If you love the outdoors or enjoy reading about the outdoors, this book captures the intensity associated with mountaineering expeditions and adventure climbing. With the turn of each page, Krakauer reflects on his experience climbing Mount Everest and the tragedies that unfolded during his ascent.
The story begins by describing the amount of preparation one endures even before reaching the mountain’s base. To climb Everest, you must first have a substantial amount of money because the costs of guided expeditions are quite steep. Krakauer also details the obstacles one faces when traveling to Tibet, a process that takes a great deal of time and energy. Once in the country, Krakauer meets the team leader Rob Hall and the rest of the expedition team. They introduce themselves and start planning their journey to the summit.
The team members range in their abilities, some are very familiar with mountaineering, and some are more amateur. As for fitness, members are across the spectrum of physical ability leading Krakauer to wonder how the experience will shake out.
As they journey through Tibet, the team travels through small towns and villages. The monstrous shape of Everest grows more ominous as they approach the base. The climb is set up into various stages called camps. These camps are like small tent villages, and this is where the team lives and rests for a certain number of weeks or days. These camps include basecamp and camps one through four. The group spends a few weeks at base camp to acclimatize to the higher and higher altitude levels. Once they have acclimatized, they push forward to the next camp and restart the process. Though the camps may sound like a place of rest and relaxation, they are far from it. With such low levels of oxygen, even the most mundane task becomes a challenge.
Each push is packed with adventure as they climb higher and higher. Readers come to understand the characters within Jon Krakauer’s expedition team and how they are dealing with the tedious stresses of Mount Everest. Some members are strong and prevail as leaders, while others follow in their snowy footsteps. One starts to learn that a team is only as strong as its weakest link on Mount Everest.
Another interesting aspect is the summit competition between Rob Hall’s team and other expedition teams on the mountain. It is no secret that climbing Mount Everest is a booming tourist business. Each expedition company is trying to better the other by ensuring a more successful summit.
Though safety should be the biggest concern during an expedition, it is cast aside like an empty oxygen canister, and it tumbles out of sight. Despite a concerning storm, the teams decide to push for the summit, a devastating decision that results in tragedy.
Though poor decisions undoubtedly played a part in the outcome of the events, one cannot argue that Mother Nature is mostly responsible. Mount Everest is a harsh environment that should be treated with respect and caution. As unforgiving as it is, Krakauer captures the sheer beauty and power of the mountain and its elements.
A captivating read, ‘Into Thin Air‘, completely grips you as you turn each page. Each chapter is overflowing with adventure, keeping you on the edge of your seat cover-to-cover.
For those interesting in climbing, whether Everest or something tamer, Duluth Pack has great equipment available to assist you on your adventures. The Duluth Pack Wanderer Pack is great for hiking outdoor trails and packing your camping belongings. We also recommend the Bushcrafter Pack, a pack built for any outdoor adventure. If you are in search of something smaller to protect your valuables, our Grab-N-Go bags are great for keeping your essentials safe and in one place. All of our packs and bags are made of sturdy and rugged canvas and premium American leather, materials that will hold up and last a lifetime.
Happy Chapter Chats, friends!