le 13 août 2003
Well well !! ....After reading this book, you would probably think twice about it.
This is a very disturbing story,and honestly a story which should be read by anybody who intends to go on top of Everest.I am not myself into mountaineering but this book explains the difficulty of climbing, the commercial pressure on the guides to get all their clients to the top, the danger of collapsing at high altitude with all the side effects,the unpredictable climate, and of course the possibility of death for anybody experienced or not.
"Into thin air" will be on my mind for a long time. Jon Krakauer writes very effectively, he's very honest with himself, and with the other people who did share this awful experience. That makes it even more interesting to read.
le 18 septembre 2009
My personal favourite mountaineering book of all time. Krakauer provides a day-by-day journal to tell the chilling, harrowing and controversial story about the 1996 Everest season when 12 climbers were killed. He describes the trek to Everest Base Camp, the acclimatization climbs to Camps One, Two and Three, the final climb by 34 climbers towards the Everest Summit, the descent to the South Col, the killer storm, the rescues and failed rescues, and the descent off the mountain. The Illustrated Edition contains almost 250 b/w photos to bring the story to visual life. The photos are by Jon Krakauer, Neil Beidleman, Klev Schoening, Scott Fisher and others.
"In March 1996, Outside magazine sent [Jon Krakauer] to participate in, and write about a guided ascent of Mount Everest", on Rob Hall's Adventure Consultants expedition. In addition to Hall's eight clients, Scott Fisher's Mountain Madness guided expedition also had eight clients. Scott Fisher: "We've got the big E figured out ... we've built a yellow brick road to the summit." Krakauer did reach the Everest summit on May 10, 1996 at 13:10. Worrying about his dwindling oxygen, he left the summit after just five minutes, finally making it back to his tent on the South Col at about 18:45, "more exhausted than I'd ever been in my life." "The storm abruptly metastasized into a full-blown hurricane, and the visibility dropped to less than twenty feet ... nineteen men and women were stranded up on the mountain by the storm, caught in a desperate struggle for their lives."
Two guides, two Sherpas, and seven clients had reached the South Col, but "staggered blindly around in the storm, growing ever more exhausted and hypothermic." In a small break in the storm, Camp Four was slightly visible. "Pittman, Fox, Weathers, and Namba were too feeble to walk", so Neil Beidleman, Klev Schoening, Lene Gammelgard, the two Sherpas, and Mike Groom stumbled off into the storm, making it back to the tents on May 11 at 00:45. Fisher's guide Anatoli Boukreev had descended to Camp Four in advance of his clients, and was the only strong climber left. Boukreev courageously single-handedly attempted to brave the storm to rescue the missing climbers, but had to return to the tents. But Boukreev didn't give up. He went out again by himself and was able to find the climbers, and brought back first Charlotte Fox and then Sandy Pittman and Tim Madsen. Yasuko Namba was dead and Beck was a lost cause.
Rob Hall waited for Doug Hansen to reach the summit at around 16:00, but Hansen turned into a "zombie" on the descent. Andy Harris picked up oxygen from the South Summit and walked back up towards Hall and Hansen. "at 4:43 on the morning of May 11 ... [Hall] had descended to the South Summit. And at that point neither Hansen nor Harris was with him." The continuing storm on May 11 stopped the Sherpa's rescue attempt. Rob's pregnant wife in New Zealand was patched through to speak to Rob late on May 11, " 'I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much.' These would be the last words anyone would her him speak."
Scott Fisher was not very strong on summit day, and reached the summit late at 15:40. Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa was able to help Fisher descend, but he collapsed just below the Balcony about 400m above the South Col. Anatoli Boukreev reached Fisher late on the evening of May 11. "Down suit is unzipped, pulled off his shoulder, one arm is outside clothing. There is nothing I can do. Scott is dead."
Amongst the tragedy, there was a ray of joy. Beck Weathers collapsed on the South Col late on May 10 and was left for dead. Miraculously he regained consciousness on May 11 and stumbled back to Camp Four at 16:35 with his "bare right hand, naked to the frigid wind and grotesquely frostbitten ... outstretched ... [looking like] a mummy in a low-budget horror film." Beck miraculously survived the night and the IMAX team with David Breashears and Ed Viesturs helped him descend to Camp Two the next day. Lt. Colonel Madan Khatri Chhetri rescued Beck from Camp Two in his helicopter on May 13.
Krakauer's writing is excellent, providing enough information, but keeping the story tight and to the point. He provides his inner thoughts and comments candidly on his own performance and mistakes, and the other clients and guides. Rob Hall's last minutes speaking to his wife are almost too heartbreaking to read. The photos are absolutely excellent. Although Krakauer is critical of Anatoli Boukreev's guiding practices, he fully acknowledges Toli's extraordinary performance in single handedly rescuing three clients during the storm. For a rebuttal from Anatoli Boukreev, read The Climb.
le 15 mai 2013
Into Thin Air est le récit authentique de la tragédie survenue au sommet de l'Everest en mai 1996, avec l'échec simultané de deux expéditions commerciales, dû à la fois à des imprudences, des défaillances de commandement et des conditions météo exceptionnellement défavorables.
Krakauer était journaliste et surtout alpiniste chevronné, il préparait un reportage sur les expéditions commerciales sur l'Everest. Il raconte de façon très personnelle l'ensemble de cette affaire. Son témoignage est captivant et poignant, et le lecteur réalise pleinement la dureté et les risques de ce type d'expédition.
La fin du livre est gâchée par le compte rendu des polémiques qui ont suivi la publication de la première édition. En effet, les principaux survivants du drame se sont bien sûr rejeté la responsabilité des événements. Or, l'auteur est partie prenante, son livre a été écrit aussitôt après la catastrophe et un peu de recul aurait été bénéfique. Paradoxalement, alors qu'on accompagne l'auteur à plus de 8.000 mètres, c'est la hauteur de vue qui manque un peu.
le 18 novembre 2015
After seeing and enjoying the movie Everest I was anxious to find out more about what makes some people choose to undertake such an incredibly dangerous adventure. The story, Into Thin Air, told by one of the participants in the adventure details all the unbelievable difficulties the participants had to face, the physical and psychological problems they had to overcome and all the obstacles they encountered on their way to the top of the Earth, a place where all is frozen and nothing lives. Fascinating.