Into thin Air is a personal account of the author’s expedition on the tallest mountain in the world. “ I stood atop Mount Everest, gasping for air at the topmost limit of earth’s atmosphere.
Standing on the top of the world, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, put my shoulder against the wind, and stared at the vast view of earth below. I understood on some dim level that it was a spectacular sight. I’d been dreaming about this moment for many months. But now that I was finally here, standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just didn’t have the energy to care” (Krakauer 1). “ This passage is a representation of the author’s achievement of getting on top of the world. This passage is essential as it is proof that the author’s effort to get to the top of the world bore fruit. It is a great description of the feeling of great achievement. It shows that Krakauer does not care that he is tired and worn out. All that he cares about is that he is at the top. I am in agreement with this passage because the sense of achievement takes away all burdens and brings hope alive.
“ Days later—after six bodies had been found, and after surgeons had amputated the right hand of my teammate Beck Weathers—people would ask why, if the weather had begun to get worse, had climbers on the upper mountain not seen the signs of coming disaster? Why did experienced Himalayan guides keep moving upward, leading a group of amateurs, each of whom had paid as much as $65, 000 to be taken safely up Everest, into an apparent death trap?” (Krakauer 2)
This passage shows the great error made by experienced guides who mislead a group of amateurs to dangerous heights. It is horrifying given the description of the events that followed the end of the expedition. Over six bodies were recovered from the mountain and a climber’s hand was amputated. What the climbers went through is not encouraging because the expedition was supposed to be joyous. The choice of words in this instance is perfect for a horrifying event though the opposite was expected. The passage is a true description of what happened on the ground and does not qualify as AP rhetoric.
“ This didn’t seem to worry Hall. After seven Everest expeditions he’d fine-tuned a remarkably effective method of acclimatization. In the next six weeks, we would make three trips above Base Camp, climbing about 2, 000 feet higher each time. After that, he insisted, our bodies would be sufficiently adapted to the altitude to permit safe passage to the 29, 000 foot summit. ” It’s worked 39 times so far, pal,” Hall assured me with a grin. Nothing to worry about, mate” (Krakuer 10).
This passage provided a remark that aroused confidence among the climbers who had not set foot on the mountain. The passage is impressive because it relates to the climbers prior experience of the expedition, and his team. It was the kind of statement that an amateur like Krakuer would depend on before they started the journey. Some people were suspicious of the guides that were assigned to the expedition for their motivation in such an expedition. There are other guides who had no commercial inclination in offering such services. The author’s choice and use of language is sufficient to convince any new climber of the abilities of the guides. His description is detailed and exudes confidence to first time climbers who may be willing to take the trip. The choice of words is an essential tool of communication especially when one is trying to sell a valid point.
” I have no idea why Lobsang was short-roping Sandy,” confesses the guide, Neil Beidleman. ” He lost sight of what he was supposed to be doing up there, of what the priorities were.” It didn’t seem like a particularly serious mistake at the time. A little thing. But it was one of many little things – building slowly, building unnoticed, but building steadily toward disaster.”(Krakauer 21).
The passage stands out as an interesting descriptive piece as one tries to identify the necessity of taking the trip. The response that follows the passage is an essential prompt that is part of a confidence building strategy. I am in agreement with the views expressed in the passage especially if it communicates to amateurs in any situation. It is easy to respond to how the passage sounds for its straight nature. One of the climbers lied to another climber that he would pay her once she got at the top. The event of short roping was serious because it is a mistake that was leading to a disaster.
“ We did have oxygen provisions, but they were limited. Each member of our team was carrying two orange, seven-pound oxygen bottles. A third bottle would be waiting for each of us at the South Summit on our descent, stashed there by Sherpas. At a conservative flow rate of two quarts of oxygen per minute, each bottle would last between five and six hours. By 4 or 5 P. M., about 18 hours after starting to climb, everyone’s gas would be gone.” (Krakauer 23)
This is a passage that shows the danger that lies ahead of the limited oxygen supplies. It is neither horrifying nor impressive as states the reality on the ground. The effect of this quote is to exude confidence on amateur climbers and readers not to worry about the event. It is also a highpoint in the book as there are instances of painful experiences in the other passages.
“ Perhaps it was because neither Lobsang nor any of Fischer’s other Sherpas was there to share the work, but Ang refused to take the responsibility himself. Shocked into doing the job ourselves, Beidleman, Boukreev, Harris, and I collected all the remaining rope, and Beidleman and Boukreev started stringing it along the most dangerous sections of the summit ridge. We did it, but by then more than an hour had trickled away, and it was getting late.” (Krakauer 28)
Krakauer and some of his team shockingly did all the work as the other climbers did not seem to care. This passage shows the frustration that the climbers had to go through while trying to summit the mountain. This description is essential because it reveals the effort the climber put in their work. I agree with the passage that there are people who stand back and watch other do the work for them without their intervention. The guides had great experience but they could not stop their deaths as a result of the storm. This passage is a great description of the true happenings that occurs in a tough event such as the climb.
“ Boukreev argues that he hurried down ahead of everybody else for a good reason: ” It is much better for me to be at South Col, ready to carry up oxygen if clients run out.” This is a difficult rationale to understand. In fact, Boukreev’s impatience on the descent more plausibly resulted from the fact that he wasn’t using bottled oxygen and was relatively lightly dressed and therefore had to get down quickly: Without gas, he was much more susceptible to the dreadful cold. If this was indeed the case, Fischer was as much to blame as Boukreev, because he gave the Russian permission to climb without gas in the first place. Whatever blame may be directed at Boukreev’s hasty descent, he redeemed himself that night after Beidleman staggered in. Plunging repeatedly into the face of the hurricane, he single-handedly brought back Fox, Pittman, and Madsen. But Namba and Weathers, he reported, were dead. When Beidleman was informed that Namba hadn’t made it, he broke down in his tent and wept for 45 minutes” (Krakauer 39).
This passage is a horrifying account of the painful experiences that climbers encountered as they descended the mountain. The passage is horrifying because some of the climbers died on their way down the mountain. The author’s use of language is powerful because of the way he described the event. The passage also stands out as a descriptive passage given the way the traumatic events come out. It prompts a grim response given the fright the author has experienced after hearing about the deaths of his teammates. This expression is meaningful in portraying a true reflection of the events encountered during the trip. I am in agreement with the feelings exuded from the unfolding events that the author experienced.
“ Climbing mountains will never be a safe, predictable, rule-bound enterprise. It is an activity that idealizes risk-taking; its most celebrated figures have always been those who stuck their necks out the farthest and managed to get away with it. Climbers, as a species, are simply not distinguished by an excess of common sense. And that holds especially true for Everest climbers: When presented with a chance to reach the planet’s highest summit, people are surprisingly quick to abandon prudence altogether. ” Eventually,” warns Tom Hornbein, 33 years after his ascent of the West Ridge, ” what happened on Everest this season is certain to happen again. (Krakauer 53)
This passage is a reminder of a critical event that is mountain climbing. The description is on point as it shows how much risk climbers go through in such an exhibition. This quote does not contain much rhetoric, and it should not be recognized as an AP rhetoric devise. The effect of the quote in relation to the book is a horrifying turn of events. This is in consideration of the confidence the climbers had.
Krakauer’s account of what happens in an expedition is a true reflection of what climbers should expect. It is not what is usually reported where climbers show off beautiful pictures of the surrounding sites. It is an event that involves psychological battles and self will in a bid to survive a traumatizing situation.
Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster. New York: Villard, 1998. Internet resource.