High on a list of things that I wish I could make more time for is reading. The only time I really find to read is at night before going to bed. However, this is not every night. Daily “to-dos” and favorite prime time TV shows typically trump opening my books sitting on the nightstand. However, lately, I’ve been trying to make a better effort to pick up them up and put a few chapters away before hitting the sack.
A book I had been reading for quite a while and finally finished up the other night was Into Thin Air. This book was written by an mountaineer/journalist, Jon Krakauer, and tells a detailed, firsthand account of a very deadly season on Mount Everest. Jon got the opportunity to travel to Nepal to summit Mount Everest and in return, document his journey for an article in Outside magazine.
The book starts with a thorough history of Mount Everest and tells of the pioneers that lost their lives attempting the summit as well as those who first made successful ascents and descents. He describes the geography of the mountain and how features like the Hillary Step inherited its name. He also describes how Mount Everest went from being a mountaineer’s biggest goal to it being a tourist attraction that anyone could attempt to summit, if they had enough money to pay a guiding company.
He describes his trip to Nepal in pretty good detail and does a great job describing his team mates that would later attempt Everest with him. I found myself at this point, not being bored with the story, but more or less anxious to get to the actual climbing of the mountain.
About half way through, the book got very exciting as he and his team worked on acclimatization and finally pushed forward to the day they were going to summit. Summiting the mountain ended up not being the climax of the story. But instead the decent, due to some pretty horrible weather and some very bad decisions, ended up being the point where I couldn’t put the book down. A series of misfortunes and poor judgment caused many people to lose their lives on the mountain during Jon’s team’s summit bid. He does a phenomenal job bringing the reader to Everest and really describing the emotions that accompanied him during the terrible decent.
Pretty great book for sure! Two thumbs up! Next on my list, Spencer’s Mountain by Earl Hamner, Jr.