When starting the book `Into Thin Air` by Jon Krakauer I got a few chapters in and had very mixed feelings about the book I was getting into. The choice of words and the way Krakauer puts them into sentences entices any reader into the book. The flow and ease of reading this book I find are amazing. As I began reading this book I realized it was not necessarily going to be a big jolly, happy book. I knew it was going to be dramatic, suspenseful and that there were many awful things to come to most of the climbers, both mentally and physically. The book starts out in roughly the middle of the timeline of the book: the reaching of the summit. The fact that the story is starting off at the reaching of the summit shows that the real climax of the story is within the descent; that all the terrible events leading up to the summit were nothing compared to what was to come.
The story itself, though dark and analytical, is a grand testament to the inner trials one faces in life every day, and that though solutions can be found, they are usually far from complete, certain or perfectly fitting to everyone involved. As John deals with other climbers facing a grisly fate with him, one can’t help but imagine him climbing his own mountain; crawling hand over foot to the point of exhaustion in order to survive. Indeed, like a mountain, the challenge of death for John was not simply large, but ever-looming over him and his mates, indifferent to their lives and circumstances. With no clear choice in how to act, John needed to create his own pathway to what he needed, trudging through his obstacles and clearing a temporary path for himself that fit his situation, like finding the way through deep snow in a storm.
Had he truly done all he could to save the others? Or was his path carved only for himself? And even more importantly, who could blame him for what he did or didn’t do? Sometimes, life leaves you to work blindly and takes away your senses needed to achieve the best you can. In John’s case, one can envision him alone, trudging through a solid sheet of falling snow, hands stretched out with no sign of what lay in front of him. Much like a man walking blind in the snow, the reader is forced to speculate on the right path, only seeing the best one until the storm has cleared. In my mind, all of this was the author’s intent all along. To show the reader the literals of life’s struggles, and the hardships one must endure both before a goal is reached and afterward, and if this is true, in that sense Into Thin Air is a masterpiece.