I never dreamed of climbing Mt. Everest whether it was there or not, hell I get winded on a ski lift. Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air, evokes wonder, tempered by visions of stark conditions and daunting sacrifice.
Krakauer writes in a way so pain-stakingly specific, yet somehow leaving room for the reader’s imagination to fill-in the scene. A rudimentary map in the prologue colored by about a dozen black and white glossies mid-way through the book were all I needed to paint an intimate picture of the 1996 Mt. Everest Disaster.
I’d never put much thought into what it would take to do something as monumental as climbing Mount Everest. Logistics aside, preparing oneself for such a quixotic adventure must include long hours staring into mirrors. I was captivated by the soul cleansing effect of pushing one’s mind and body so far beyond the boundaries of safety and sanity. Krakauer enlightens this aspect of the story only as someone writing from real experience can. The reality and tragedy of these events only begin in the text. The full force of the story gripped me far beyond words.
Shivering through pre-dawn walks to the subway in Brooklyn while reading Into Thin Air, I tried to picture myself trudging across the frozen waste of the Western Cwm with a trusty Sherpa by my side. Fifty below zero, sixty mile per hour wind gusts, hundred foot crevasses, thirty percent oxygen levels, sheesh, count me out, I’ll wait for the DVD.
Now, I don’t want to turn this blog into a book review site (how friggin’ boring would that be?), but I love this guy! Into Thin Air is recommended reading.
Leave a Comment March 7, 2008