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

Bibliographic Citation: Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. New York: Villard Books, 1997. 293p. ISBN: 9780679457527. 

Awards/Selection Lists:

Alex Award

Author’s Website:


In Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer pieces together the devastating details of his May 1996 expedition to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Personal Reaction:

On May 10, 1996, Jon Krakauer, having reached the summit of Mt. Everest, found himself on the “roof” of the world. Severely impaired from hypoxia, he was too far gone to fully appreciate the moment and spent no more than five minutes upon the summit before heading back down. Krakauer had no idea that he and his teammates would soon be met with tragedy. A rogue storm would ravage the mountain and ultimately result in the deaths of four of his five teammates.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is Krakauer’s attempt to piece together the details of the 1996 expedition that left many altered for life, or dead. Relying heavily on personal interviews with the survivors, Krakauer is able to present as complete a version of the disastrous events as one would imagine is possible. Into Thin Air captures with heartbreaking honesty the survivor’s guilt Krakauer suffers from, exposing him as a man broken by tragedy. Examining the captivating mystique of Mt. Everest, the author offers readers a peek into a world known by few.

Front Matter:

“Also by Jon Krakauer,” dedication page, introduction, “Dramatis Personae”

Back Matter:

Author’s Note, Selected Bibliography, About the Author


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