Get a free audiobook

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn't slept in 57 hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, 20 other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top. No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds. 

Six hours later and 3,000 feet lower, in 70-knot winds and blinding snow, Krakauer collapsed in his tent, freezing, hallucinating from exhaustion and hypoxia, but safe. The following morning, he learned that six of his fellow climbers hadn't made it back to their camp and were desperately struggling for their lives. When the storm finally passed, five of them would be dead, and the sixth so horribly frostbitten that his right hand would have to be amputated. 

Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of the best seller Into the Wild. On assignment for Outside Magazine to report on the growing commercialization of the mountain, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas as a client of Rob Hall, the most respected high-altitude guide in the world.  

A rangy, 35-year-old New Zealander, Hall had summited Everest four times between 1990 and 1995 and had led 39 climbers to the top. Ascending the mountain in close proximity to Hall's team was a guided expedition led by Scott Fischer, a 40-year-old American with legendary strength and drive who had climbed the peak without supplemental oxygen in 1994. But neither Hall nor Fischer survived the rogue storm that struck in May 1996. 

Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people - including himself - to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concerns of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense. 

Written with emotional clarity and supported by his unimpeachable reporting, Krakauer's eyewitness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement. Into the Wild is available on audio, read by actor Campbell Scott. 

©1997 Jon Krakauer (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.

What the critics say

"Into Thin Air ranks among the great adventure books of all time...a book of rare eloquence and power that could remain relevant for centuries." (Galen Rowell, The Wall Street Journal)

"No added dramatics are needed for the listener to imagine the high-altitude cold, fear, bravado and sense of total isolation felt by all who were trapped beyond help, as well as by those who survived. Franklin’s emulations of the multinational voices of guides, clients and Sherpas bring one still closer to the action." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Into Thin Air

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    44
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sad but insightful

Loved it and if you are an outdoor enthusiast you will as well. No one is above the mountain.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Gripping and frightening. I loved it.

I have never read anything about mountain climbing before and now I know I never want to try it. This book takes you up Everest and into the minds of some of the most driven adventure seekers on the planet. It’s riveting and sad, exciting and horrifying. I couldn’t put it down.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning

I have listened to this audio book 3 times now, and each time I am stunned by the harrowing details of this tragedy. Jon Krakauer‘s chronological and thoroughly researched account of his experience is heartbreaking. He is so earnest and forthcoming with outlining his own mistakes, as well as detailing the many minor slip ups that built up to caused the break down. It makes you ponder what you would do under such immense pressure and hypoxic conditions. Extremely well written, very accessible and totally devastating.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Deeply portrays the conditions of climbing Everest

I am an aspiring mountaineer and the detailed description of this Expedition paints the magnitude and gravity of climbing an 8,000 m peak.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

good

good I liked it, I never realized how hard climbing mount Everest is, I think I want to try

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent novel!

This was an excellent novel for not only climbing enthusiasts but the general public. Highly recommended for all audiences!! #Audible1

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling and frightening

I am grateful that Jon Krakauer took the time to write this account of the tragedy on Everest. With his own recollections, and those of others, he has pieced together what happened. Oxygen deprived and fogged by the confusion that killed others, he made mistakes that he hasn't forgiven himself for. Yet he takes responsibility. I hope he can make peace with it someday. As a result, the book has a rather gloomy conclusion... but, then again, how could it be otherwise? The tells the story as Jon experienced it, only revealing what transpired afterwards, as he put the pieces together. It made it compelling. I might want to read it again, with a list of climbers and teams, and a map f the mountain.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeffrey E.
  • 2016-02-06

Audio version RUINED with new narrator!

This is easily one of my favorite books of all time - especially the audio version. Originally, Mr. Krakauer narrated the book which made it even better because he was emotionally attached to the story since he lived it. His narration was masterful, to say the least. I had purchased this book a couple of years ago and had listened to it twice, but after seeing the movie Everest recently, I decided to listen to it again. Since I had recently purchased a new phone, I had to re-download the book and to my horror - there is a new narrator! While he does a fine job, it is no where near the caliber of Mr Krakauer's work. I was told this was the decision of the publisher. Thanks a lot guys, you have completely ruined the audio version of this book!!!

98 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • karen
  • 2016-06-06

Incredible. Horrifying. Amazing.

I'm definitely a flat-lander, never had even the slightest interest in climbing anything higher than my bed, so this book was an odd choice for me. I bought it because I'd just finished listening to -- and loving -- Junger's "A Perfect Storm", when some cookie-wizard said if I like "disaster books", maybe I'd like this one. Well, sure, why not? (For the record, John McDonald's "Condominium" is the best book I've ever read on what it's like to be in a hurricane. Loved that one, too, so I guess I do like "disaster books.")

I'm not sure what I expected with this one -- I wasn't aware of this particular disastrous climb before, although I certainly do remember various magazine spreads showing people doing silly things like climbing to 29,000 feet -- not when passenger airplanes normally cruises at about 30,000 feet. You mean as you're flying along, someone could be outside your window, there, looking in? Well, maybe not. Not without some conditioning, but still.... Why would someone do something like that?

I still don't know. It sounds not just highly likely to be lethal, but it's also not all that pretty -- the way the base camps are described -- dirty, cluttered, thin air, poor food, people sick, barfing, gasping, wounded, struggling to survive -- don't come across as pleasant at all. But what I do know now, with more intensity than I ever expected, the vast array of really dreadful things that can happen to you when you do.

I surely didn't realize all the things that went into such a climb -- the high-altitude conditioning, the high cost (although I guess I could have figured that out) or the surprisingly large number of regular ordinary people, more or less, who decide that a climb to the top of Mt. Everest belongs on their bucket list -- sometimes the last entry, apparently.

All I can say is this: This is a heck of a book. I will most definitely listen to this one again -- maybe many times over. I was so hooked on listening that the rug I was crocheting at the time had to be completely ripped up and started over. Sometimes I'd just stop dead, and sit and listen. Few books in any genre beat this one for its "so what happened then?" quality. Listening, the only thing you know for sure is that the author survived, so that he could write the book.

Anyway, this is a really really good book. Don't miss it.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul N
  • 2004-02-10

Touching tale of tragedy on Top of the World

Loved the reading!
Jon Krakauer, eyewitness, author, and narrator, grabs the audience in a way which transports them with the doomed 1996 Everest expedition teams. We feel the camaraderie, exultations, and eventual tragedy while safely well below the "death zone". Having skimmed the printed edition, I finally purchased and listened to this title while commuting - for the first time I wished my commute were longer or the traffic worse!
Jon reads with feeling, as he should; he was there and witnessed the events. His account is gripping and the unabridged version is well worth the additional investment of time!
I see that The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev, a guide on Fisher's team, is also available on Audible - to better understand the events of mid-May 1996 one would want to listen to both titles.
Having been an Audible listener for over 2 years, I have often relied upon reviews of other listeners when choosing new titles; this is my first contribution.

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dan
  • 2003-02-17

An incredible book, beautifully performed

Into Thin Air is the dramatic retelling of the Mount Everest disaster as told by an Outside Magazine writer that was on the expedition. I am normally not fond of author's reading their own books--this seems to be a job better left to professional readers. In this case, having the author read the book adds extra weight to the tragidy of the story. I've been an Audible subscriber for two years and this has been my favorite book so far.

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Stone
  • 2003-03-09

Being There

This was a great, thrilling story and well read by the author. The sense of "being there" with John on Everest was palpable. As a reader, I am normally overly eager to reach the end of a story, to see how it turns out, and get on to the next read. This was a book I never wanted to end. It kept my attention rivieted every second. My most enjoyable book for the last year!

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 2009-07-20

A must read

Where do I start? This book has changed people's lives for years and it changed mine. The detailed account of how people strive so hard to achieve an almost unreachable goal despite the fact that they might die is almost unbelievable. I do not understand why climbers would put themselves through the suffering one must endure to stand atop Everest, nor do I have the desire to climb Everest, but I found this book completely enthralling. It is a testament to the human spirit and what man can and will do once he/she has set their mind to it.

I ended the book, listened to the interview, and immediately started the book over again. It was that good. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good non-fiction read.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kelley
  • 2007-10-15

One of the best

This book actually made me greive as though I were somehow part of the story. Amazing when an author can actually make our theoretical connection to others become very real. It's quite a masterpiece and one of the best author readings I've heard.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazons-Survivor
  • 2018-03-08

This will awe you as it did me

This is an amazing story filled with horror, amazement, and utter sadness. It was a little hard to follow though, with many many difficult names to remember of people but story was incredible! The ending almost had me in tears as many parts did. And to think while my family were alive and well, way off on Everest this tragedy was occuring.....

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 2004-07-01

Wow!

For us couch potatoes who drive to the corner grocery store, this book shows you how far some people will take themselves "just because it's there". Excellent all around: prose, plot, narrative, reader.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Donald
  • 2003-09-13

Clear, Honest, Gripping, Fair

This is the first Everest Saga that I have read. It has left me wanting to find more to read and listen to. When I had finished I was sure that I had heard an honest description of what had happened. It is interesting to follow the stories of others who were mentioned, try to change what happened to releive themselves of any feelings of responsibility.

4 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-01-12

Great story

A lot of names to remember, but great story. It lives up to the praises I heard.