Claude Mulindi

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Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer

In a few words

A riveting personal account of the fatal 1996 Mt. Everest expedition. Investigative journalism at its finest.


"Achieving the summit of a mountain was tangible, immutable, concrete. The incumbent hazards lent the activity a seriousness of purpose that was sorely missing from the rest of my life."

"To become a climber was to join a self-contained, rabidly idealistic society, largely unnoticed and surprisingly uncorrupted by the world at large."

"Getting to the top of any given mountain was considered much less important than how one got there: prestige was earned by tackling the most unforgiving routes with minimal equipment, in the boldest style imaginable."

"Absorbed by my surroundings and the gravity of the labor, I lost myself in the unfettered pleasures of ascent, and for an hour or two actually forgot to be afraid."

"Mountaineering, she understood, was an essential expression of some odd, immutable aspect of my personality that I could no sooner alter than change the color of my eyes."

"I quickly came to understand that climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain. And in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium, and suffering, it struck me that most of us were probably seeking, above all else, something like a state of grace."

"Mountaineering tends to draw men and women not easily deflected from their goals. By this late stage in the expedition we had all been subjected to levels of misery and peril that would have sent more balanced individuals packing for home long ago. To get this far one had to have an uncommonly obdurate personality."

"Reaching the top of Everest is supposed to trigger a surge of intense elation; against long odds, after all, I had just attained a goal I’d coveted since childhood. But the summit was really only the halfway point. Any impulse I might have felt toward self-congratulation was extinguished by overwhelming apprehension about the long, dangerous descent that lay ahead."

"It hurts to see Beck like this: rebuilt nose, facial scars, disabled for life, Beck wondering if he can practice medicine again, and the like. But it was also remarkable to see how a man can accept all this and be ready to move on in life. He is conquering this. He will be victorious."