Tori Glass, Connor Archibald, Rachelle Higgs



Many little kids grow up thinking about how cool it would be to climb Mount Everest since the first time they learned about it. Jon Krakauer is one of these people. Working as a reporter for Outside magazine, the opportunity for him to climb Everest came knocking at his door. The job was to climb with expedition leader, Rob Hall, and write about the trip to the top of the infamous Mountain. Chasing his childhood dream, Krakauer packed his bags and left for the adventure. Into Thin Air is a documentary about Krakauer’s journey to the summit of 29,028 feet. What was supposed to be the perfect day to ascend to the dangerous altitude turned into disaster. What is considered to be one of the worst storms on Everest ended in the death of many men. A Childhood dream turns into a terrible nightmare.

Why Should You Read This Book?

Into Thin Air is a thrilling documentary based on one of the most horrific events to occur on Mount Everest as it is told by one of the survivors, Jon Krakauer. This is the extension to a newspaper article for Outside Magazine which gave Jon Krakauer the opportunity to climb the wonder known as Mount Everest. In this story, you will learn the sacrifices made in this expedition as well as what it takes to reach the 29,028 feet summit alive. This book will literally leave you wanting more at the end of each chapter as you learn the horrific accidents that caused an exciting once in a life time opportunity into a tragic nightmare.

Criticism (Moral/Ethical)

What would make a person decide to risk their life to reach the summit of Mt. Everest? Is it their drive and will to complete such a task that propels them through all the obvious hardship and perils of the climb itself? In Into Thin Air, one could either draw that the message brought about by Jon Krakauer is that determination can produce success in the face of adversity, or that such a task like the 1996 expedition is absolutely convoluted and crazy. Had Krakauer believed that it was a completely ludicrous idea to climb Everest in the first place, the tragedies of the “worst disaster on Everest” would never have made an effect on him.

Artifact 1: Letter on Disappearing Sherpa

Letter Concerning the Disapperance of a Sherpa on Everest

Dear, I have received the very sad news that Chhewang Nima Sherpa (43), 19 Time Everest Summiter, was caught in an avalanche on Mt. Baruntse (7129m) on 23rd Oct. I have been informed that the Avalanche occurred at 4:30 Pm at an altitude of 7045m.
The search for Chhewang Nima is still ongoing and I can only pray that he is still alive. Tomorrow, on 25th October, a helicopter search party will be dispatched to the area, accompanied by his family members.
Chhewang Nima was climbing with " Adventure Trip Baruntse Expedition Autumn 2010" under the management of Sherpa Shangrila Treks(P) ltd.
Ang Tshering Sherpa

Nima who worked for Alpine Ascents on Everest was just one Summit short of the record set by Apa Sherpa for the number of times summiting Everest. Stay tuned!

This letter to concerns the disappearance of a Sherpa on a Mt. Everest expedition. The term Sherpa is also used to refer to local people, typically men, who are employed as guides for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, particularly Mt. Everest. They are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain. They are used to the climbers’ advantage in Into Thin Air a lot and are very helpful. The fact that one has gone missing only exemplifies the harsh reality that anything could happen to anyone on such a risky expedition.

Artifact 2: Mountain Climbing Medical Dictionary

Mountain Climbing Medical Dictionary

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS):
-Common at high altitudes
-Dependent upon elevation, rate of ascent, and individual vulnerability
-Symptoms include:
-Shortness of breath
-Loss of appetite
-Disturbed sleep
-General feeling of malaise (depression)

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE):
-Results from fluid buildup in the lungs
-Can lead to cyanosis, impaired cerebral function, and death
-Symptoms include:
-Shortness of breath (even at rest)
-Tightness in the chest
-marked fatigue
-Feeling of impending suffocation at night
-Persistent productive cough bringing up white, watery, or frothy fluid

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE):
-Result of swelling of brain tissue from fluid leakage
-Generally occurs after a week or more at high altitude
-Symptoms include:
-Loss of coordination
-Decreasing levels of consciousness including; disorentation, loss of memory, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, and possible coma.

During the book, Into Thin Air, medical terms pop up everywhere and are only fully explained once. When reading the parts where these illnesses are brought up, the reader can get very confused. This dictionary of the common (and deadly) illnesses can help the reader understand the text better. Mountain climbing is an extremely dangerous sport, probably the most dangerous there is. There are many more sicknesses out there due to climbing; these however were the most mentioned in the novel.

Artifact 3: Video on Everest Dining --> Video explaining how altiude changes the food you are able to eat and the size of your appetite.

This video demonstrates the types of meals that a typical climber must eat. Into Thin Air discusses how the expedition caused his appetite drastically decreased and he was forced himself to eat enough at meals. This video gives further insight into why this happens and how a climber must eat to survive despite their lack of appetite. It also explains the importance of drinking tea and packing as many calories per gram as possible.

Artifact 4: Jon Krakauer's Article

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Everest deals with trespassers harshly: the dead vanish beneath the snows. While the living struggle to explain what happened. And why. A survivor of the mountain's worst disaster examines the business of Mount Everest and the steep price of ambition.
By Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer's article received a lot of backlash; guides and clients wrote to defend their behavior and actions during the climb and the imminent tragedy. Some completely denied all responsibility for what occurred on the mountain, but all agreed that they continue to grieve over the horrific outcome of May 1996's fatal summit to Everest.

Straddling the top of the world, one foot in Tibet and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently at the vast sweep of earth below. I understood on some dim, detached level that it was a spectacular sight. I'd been fantasizing about this moment, and the release of emotion that would accompany it, for many months. But now that I was finally here, standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn't summon the energy to care.

It was the afternoon of May 10. I hadn't slept in 57 hours. The only food I'd been able to force down over the preceding three days was a bowl of Ramen soup and a handful of peanut M&M's. Weeks of violent coughing had left me with two separated ribs, making it excruciatingly painful to breathe. Twenty-nine thousand twenty-eight feet up in the troposphere, there was so little oxygen reaching my brain that my mental capacity was that of a slow child. Under the circumstances, I was incapable of feeling much of anything except cold and tired.

I'd arrived on the summit a few minutes after Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian guide with an American expedition, and just ahead of Andy Harris, a guide with the New Zealand-based commercial team that I was a part of and someone with whom I'd grown to be friends during the last six weeks. I snapped four quick photos of Harris and Boukreev striking summit poses, and then turned and started down. My watch read 1:17 P.M. All told, I'd spent less than five minutes on the roof of the world.

After a few steps, I paused to take another photo, this one looking down the Southeast Ridge, the route we had ascended. Training my lens on a pair of climbers approaching the summit, I saw something that until that moment had escaped my attention. To the south, where the sky had been perfectly clear just an hour earlier, a blanket of clouds now hid Pumori, Ama Dablam, and the other lesser peaks surrounding Everest.

Days later—after six bodies had been found, after a search for two others had been abandoned, after surgeons had amputated the gangrenous right hand of my teammate Beck Weathers—people would ask why, if the weather had begun to deteriorate, had climbers on the upper mountain not heeded the signs? Why did veteran Himalayan guides keep moving upward, leading a gaggle of amateurs, each of whom had paid as much as $65,000 to be ushered safely up Everest, into an apparent death trap?

This article shows how mountain climbing can go wrong and affect a person. With six bodies found, it shows how dangerous this sport is. When people go to climb Everest, it is usually a goal they have had since a kid or a long period of time. For Jon Krakauer, this was a child hood dream of his and when he finally lived the dream he couldn’t even feel the excitement of the climb. Mountain climbing is a huge risk to anyone who “plays” the sport.

Artifact 5: Climbing Stats

Six of the nine climbers had lower than average scores on the Digit Symbol test, which measures executive functions.
Three out of nine scored lower than average on memory tests.
Four scored below average on a visual-motor function test.
The study authors noted that the results “are most likely to be due to progressive, subtle brain insults caused by repeated high-altitude exposure.”

When someone goes climbing, they should always think ahead and know the possibilities of what could happen to them. Every sport had their risks and this one seems to have many more then most. If Jon Krakauer and the other climbers really knew what damages the high altitude could do them would they continue to climb? They most likely had an idea of what could happen but never really knew completely or didn’t focus on the bad parts of the trip.

Artifact 6: Picture of Climbing Tools

external image mountaineerpkglg.jpg

This picture represents a legitimate danger while climbing a mountain (or Everest to be specific). The long sharp tool is an ice pick and the two devices on the left are called crampons. Both can pose a threat to the safety of yourself and the others around you if something unexpected was to happen during the climb because they are very sharp and must be handled with care. Even the equipment used to help obtain a successful ascent can harm a person.

Artifact 7: Quote

“Suddenly, one of the climbers, George Bell, lost his footing and fell, pulling everyone else with him!”

This quote shows how reliable climbers are on the people around them. In Into Thin Air the team Jon Krakauer was on didn’t know each other longer then 2 months before the team pushed the summit of Everest. When mountain climbing, you can’t just keep to yourself and do the entire thing on your own, the expedition groups you are with are the people you have to rely on. This sport is a perfect example of the saying “There is no I in TEAM”.

Artifact 8: 8 Secrets to Mountain Climbing

The 8 Secrets of Mountain Climbing and Life

  1. Plan carefully so you know what you’re getting into.
  2. Cheer yourselves on, admit it’s hard and congratulate yourself on how well you’re doing.
  3. Stop to rest often and admire the view along the way.
  4. Being part of a team of like-minded people can make it more fun.
  5. If you want to make it to the top you need to persevere.
  6. If you concentrate on just taking one step after another, you’ll get there in the end.
  7. The most important thing is to enjoy the process.
  8. Drink plenty of water.
These “secrets to mountain climbing” give anyone who interested in climbing the basics necessary to a successful climb. Jon Krakauer uses Into Thin Air to describe the tragedy of the 1996 expedition, but it is also filled with examples of precautions to take while climbing. While these “secrets” may seem too simple, while mountain climbing it’s the most basic tasks that can easily go wrong and cause the expedition to fail. While these tips do not guarantee a successful climb, they can help climbers enjoy the climb and stay safe.

Artifact 9: "Death on the Mountain: The Diary of an Amateur Climber"

16 May
Swede Tomas Olsson (right) died while skiing down the north face of Everest. He and teammate Tormod Granheim decided to abseil down a 150ft cliff face but, tragically, a snow anchor ripped out during Olsson's descent and he fell to his death.
5 July
Paul Holmes, a 33-year-old rock-climbing enthusiast from Wales, was killed by an avalanche on Mont Blanc in the French Alps. Holmes had been climbing out of a glacier when it hit, sweeping him into a crevasse and breaking the rope that connected him to his climbing partner, who survived.
13 August
Four élite Russian climbers were killed in an avalanche 200 metres from the summit of K2 - regarded as the world's most lethal peak due to the high ratio of deaths per attempted ascent. The Russians were at the head of a group of nine climbers when the avalanche happened, knocking two climbers off the cliff, and burying the other two instantly. A British climber at the rear of the group survived.

These diary entries by an amateur mountain climber show multiple deaths that have occurred on various mountains and summits. It shows how much tragedy a natural disaster like the ones above can cause; such a natural disaster was apparent in Into Thin Air due to the massive snowstorm. It also shows just how sudden an expedition can turn from successful to deadly.

Works Cited

"Chhewang Nima Sherpa 19 times Everest summiter Missing on Baruntse." Everest News, Where Everest Climbers Come for News : Everest News. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__ chhnimasherpas%20missing10242010.htm__>.

Curtis, Rick, Director, and Outdoor Action Program. "OA Guide to High Altitude: Acclimatization and Illnesses." Princeton University - Welcome. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__>.

"HowStuffWorks Videos "Climbing Everest: Mountain Dining"." Howstuffworks "Video Channel". N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__http:// mountain- dining-video.htm__>.

"Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer |" Adventure Travel, Gear, and Fitness | N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__http://

PARKER-POPE, TARA. "Mountain Climbing Bad for the Brain -" Health and Wellness - Well Blog - N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__ brain/__>.

"Black Diamond Mountain Climbing Gear Package." Acme Climbing - Climbing Accessories, Climbing Equipment, Climbing Gear, Mountain Climbing Gear, Rock Climbing Gear. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <>.

" When Strong Hands Meant Life or Death Mountain Climbing Rock Climbing K2 ." Functional Hand and Grip Strength Training - Iron Mind Captains of Crush Hand Grippers. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__http:// www.functionalhandstrengt__

"8 Secrets of Mountain Climbing and Life." Successful Blogging and Social Media Marketing Tips by Annabel Candy. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__http://>.

" Death on the mountain: The diary of an amateur climber - This Britain, UK - The Independent." The Independent | News | UK and Worldwide News | Newspaper. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2011. <__ news/uk/this-britain/death-on-the-mountain-the-diary-of-an-amateur- climber-443470.html__>.

Literary Portfolio

Tori Glass --- Literary Portfolio

external image mt_everest_copy.jpg

This picture of Mount Everest represents the strength required to sucessfully reach the Summit. Not only does the climber need to have a great amount of physical strenth/endurance, it also takes a great deal of mental strength to push yourself to the summit despite the harsh conditions. It is also a symbol of the mountain's strength. As a climber, Jon Krakauer was able to see not only the "outer beauty" (the mountain's appearance) but he was able to see ts "inner beauty." (The mountain's terrain and the sacrifices people are willing to make to reach the summit.) This picture could also serve a personal meaning to Jon Krakauer because he lost so many fellow climbers and friends on the expedition. It could be somewhat of a memory or dedication of those who did not return.

Jon Krakauer has written multiple novels, each surronding the theme of survival. Into Thin Air was about surviving the Everest Expedition and another one of his novels, Into The Wild is written about a man who abandons all his possessions and burns his wallet to go and survive in the wilderness. I began to realize that even though Jon Krakauer did not personally attempt all of the adventures he has written about, he seems to be an adventurous man. So I decided that a deep sea expedition might be something that he would be intrested in. Not only are all these activities adventurous, but they also require a great deal of courage and bravery. After reading Into Thin Air it is clear to me that Jon Krakauer has a great deal of bravery, which would make him the perfect canidate for deep sea expeditions.

These objects are items that would have aided the expedition to Everest, they are also about survival, which is a main theme of the novel. It was with these things in mind that gave me the idea to use them for one of my projects, since they are not only objects Jon Krakauer might have been familiar with but they can also be symbolic to the novel.

Rachelle Higgs --- Literary Portfolio

This video talks about the Everest disaster. It shows how dangerous the expedition was and how the weather can ruin peoples lives. Rob Hall had predicted perfect weather day for a summit push, but was completely wrong. When you are up that high in the air you have to take many precautions which they didn't. This ended up in many peoples lives.

Although this song isn't about mountain climbing, the theme can really relate to the book. When disaster strikes at 29,028 feet in the air and you know that you don't have much of a chance or are scared, you have to keep pushing yourself to keep going and not give up. When Rob Hall was stranded at the top and had a radio, people at the camp said the radio came on and they heard Rob talking to himself saying "keep going". Everest really is a challenge and shows the theme of "the survival of the fittest"

Jon Krakauer worked for Outside magazine which is why i chose to create a cover for outside magazine. Everest is the picture in the background. I put the picture of the man on the ladder because in the book, there was a part where the climbers had to use ladders to go across several parts of the ice. The part in the story was very suspenseful and is one of the first "scenes" that show the true danger and fear of climbing.

Connor Archibald --- Literary Portfolio

The theme of this photo greatly relates to the theme of the book even though it does not relate to mountain climbing or Everest. The quote in the photo is very inspiring and could be a driving force behind doing a task, such as climbing Mt. Everest. The orange monotone landscape of an ocean at sunset presents an image of calm and coolheadedness. This theme, although it is different from motivation, allows for a mind-clearing peacefulness necessesary to focus on a specific goal. This plus the inspiring quote greatly represents the motivation and focus the characters in the book have.

The trailer for the movie "Frozen" shares many similarities with the theme and plot of the book. While the characters in the respective stories are trapped in different situations, both have to face similar hardships in order to survive. The movie shows that perserverance in the face of adversity is the only way to prevail in a situation that is perilous just like in the book.

In the book, one particular event stood out. In the beginning of the book, Jon Krakauer and his team learn of the death of a Sherpa while climbing. This event shows how just about anything could happen while taking a risk like climbing because it is so unpredictable. Not even an experienced climber like a Sherpa can avoid death in the most desperate of times. This is a diary entry of Krakauer's reaction to the news.