1996…the deadliest season ever on Mount Everest had a single deadly storm that accounted for more than half of these fatalities. The story has been written about countless times and Into Thin Air is the first and probably most well known of those. Krakauer was on the mountain writing for Outside magazine when the storm hit and later decided the events were well worth a book.
Into Thin Air is an excellent example of just how bad things can get at extreme altitude and just how little anyone can do about it. It is extremely well written and probably one of the best books concerning Mount Everest. Page after page tension builds and even knowing the outcome of that horrible storm I could not put the book down. The book covers a variety of characters on the mountain, some entailing extreme examples of survival and others ending in haunting tragedy.
Not only does Krakauer document the tragedy well, but Into Thin Air is also a good account of the details that are a part of climbing Everest and a view into the minds of extreme climbers. From the amazing will to survive to the acknowledgement of defeat, a wide variety of personality types are covered and Everest attracts them all.
Overall Into Thin Air is an excellent account of mountaineering tragedy. I highly recommend this to both mountaineering fans and those that have never tried the sub-genre.
Side Note: Unless you are a die hard fan and just can not handle having read the book and not seen the movie, then avoid watching the movie by the same title. The movie Into Thin Air does not come even close to living up to the book.