Climbing Mount Everest is extremely dangerous. Jon Krakauer wrote “Into Thin Air”, a true life account of his disastrous climb to the top of Mt. Everest. What he experienced was beyond dangerous. Below are exerpts from his book that speak for themselves.
…a boulder the size of a small television came rocketing down from the cliffs above and smashed Andy Harris’s chest. It knocked him off his feet, slammed the wind out of him, and left him dangling from the fixed lie in a state of shock for several minutes. Had he not been clipped in with a jumar he would have certainly fallen to his death.
Chen Yu-Nan…crawled out of his tent to evacuate his bowels shod only in smooth-soled liners of his mountaineering boots- a serious lapse of judgment. As he squatted, he lost his footing on the ice and went hurtling down the Lhotse Face. Incredibly, after falling only 70 feet he plunged headfirst in a crevasse, which arrested his tumble. Sherpas who had seen the incident lowered a rope, quickly pulled him out of the slot…(the) radio crackled to life: it was Jangbu reporting in a panicked voice that Chen had stopped breathing.
Beck had spoken of his vision problem earlier, but with the summit in reach, he neglected to mention its increasing severity….by the time (Beck) reached the Balcony and the sun came up, he realized his vision was worse than ever. In addition, he’d inadvertently rubbed some ice crystals into his eyes, lacerating both corneas.
I became aware that my mind had gone haywire… I observed my own slide from reality with a blend of fascination and horror. I was so far beyond ordinary exhaustion that I experienced a queer detachment from my body, as if I were observing my descent from a few feet overhead.
I’d tightened the drawstrings on my hood until only a tiny opening remained around my eyes… Andy Harris suddenly appeared out of the gloom beside me. Shining my headlamp in his direction, I reflexively recoiled when I saw the appalling condition of his face. His cheeks were coated with an armor of frost, one eye was frozen shut, and he was slurring his words badly….
Beck was crumpled in a fetal position, not moving a whole lot…(Beck) rolls a little distance away, crouches on a big rock, and stands up facing the wind with his arms stretched out to either side. A second later a gust comes up and just blows him over backward. And that was the last I saw of him.
Into Thin Air” is one of my favorite books. If you have any experience or comments on extreme climbing, I’d love to hear your comments! You can post them below.