This book is the true story, written by a man who was there, of an expedition seeking to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. This mighty mountain has a peak so high that most climbers need to wear oxygen masks, and the climb is so dangerous that one person dies for every three who reach the summit.

Think of this: The height of the peark Mount Everest is 5.5 miles (8.8 km) above sea level. The air is so thin (hence the name of this book) that there is only about one-third as much oxygen available at the summit, compared with at sea level.

Located in the Himalayas on the border of Nepal and China, the expedition begins in Nepal and follows a large group that gets smaller during the climb as some people turn back. There was an IMAX crew present, who filmed Everest (see below).

Jon Krakauer explains how even advanced climbers with many years of experience are risking their lives to climb this mountain, and on this occasion a tragedy occurred when a vicious storm high on the mountain resulted in eight people losing their lives, and others being permanently injured. One climber who perished was the very experienced leader of the group, Rob Hall.

The book for me was incredible to read. Two of the climbers are cousins of mine, and they are mentioned in the book as turning back partway up the mountain. The descriptions of the mountain, and the extreme challenge of climbing it, and the specialized gear, were all super amazing.

This is one of the best books I've ever read, and it will really give you an idea of how crazy the sport of mountaineering can get. Climbing the world's tallest peaks is one of the most dangerous sports there is.

The events in this book took place in 1996. The incredible IMAX film was released in 1998.

(Background image of the Himalayas from Flickr website, user Wonker.)

The IMAX film, made on the same expedition, and another book by a climber who witnessed these events. I have not read this other book, although I plan to do so.

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  • DaveStone13 Apr 12, 2014 @ 11:35 am
    I read the book a few years ago. It was unforgettable. The sense of being there the author created was amazing. I

    I second your recommendation, Jonathan. A great read.
  • Brite-Ideas Feb 19, 2014 @ 6:36 pm
    I'm amazed how people can do this - honestly it's something I could never think of doing, eventhough two of my sons have dangerous jobs as IronWorkers and hang of the sides of 50 story buildings *not fun being the mom*
  • Jan 24, 2014 @ 3:05 pm
    Okay, I read the title for a second thought you climbed Mt. Everest. Ha ha This is a great, in-depth book review. Thanks for sharing.
  • IanTease Jan 16, 2014 @ 2:29 pm
    This book sounds fascinating, always enjoy tales of Everest expeditions. Will have to check it out
  • smine27 Jan 08, 2014 @ 5:23 am
    I should read this book just because I know I'll never attempt this climb! Great review.
  • libertyduckling Jan 07, 2014 @ 12:53 am
    looks good! Great lens! ^_^
  • KLGanny Jan 05, 2014 @ 10:23 am
    I've heard of this book several times, though I've not actually read it yet. I'd like to. Thanks for sharing more information about it. :)
  • Mr-Squidoo-Review Jan 03, 2014 @ 8:31 am
    Looks A Fantastic Read, I Have So Much Respect For Anyone Attempting Mount Everest With The Stats Being 1 Person Dies For Every 3 That Make It To The Top.
  • Merrci Dec 30, 2013 @ 11:20 am
    Great lens. The book is going on my wish list. Thanks!
  • getmoreinfo Dec 29, 2013 @ 11:55 am
    wow what an adventure, and such a inspirational story for those interested in these type of mountain climbing expeditions, also a scary thing to do too.
  • lhbeninger Dec 29, 2013 @ 12:43 am
    I read this book several years ago and remember it as well-written and terrifying. Great review.
  • TanoCalvenoa Dec 31, 2013 @ 2:02 am
    Terrifying is right. It reminded me of the many Michael Crichton books I've read, although this one is all true.
  • RaniaCalvenea Dec 28, 2013 @ 7:12 pm
    Is climbing it from the Nepal side easier than climbing it from the China side? Just wondering.
  • TanoCalvenoa Dec 28, 2013 @ 7:16 pm
    There's two main routes, but something like fifteen overall. The first main route from Nepal is said to be easier than the other main route from Tibet.
  • RinchenChodron Dec 28, 2013 @ 10:48 am
    I read it - it was GREAT - highly recommended.
  • sierradawn Dec 27, 2013 @ 11:46 pm
    How proud you must be of your cousins! To even dare to undertake such a venture is an outstanding endeavor! I am glad they came back safe. This is a book that I must add to my reading list! Another remarkable lens!
  • Michellle Dec 27, 2013 @ 11:20 pm
    I read this book. Can't say I loved it. I can say I won't forget it. Crazy. - great lens.
  • peterantonrev Dec 27, 2013 @ 3:36 pm
    Is this the same story that PBS showed a 2 or 3 part film about? It was riveting!
  • TanoCalvenoa Dec 29, 2013 @ 1:16 am
    Yes, it's called "Storm Over Everest." Very intense.
  • peterantonrev Dec 27, 2013 @ 3:35 pm
    Is this the same story that PBS showed a 2 or 3 part film about? It was riveting!
  • Chip_Westley Dec 27, 2013 @ 10:02 am
    Fascinating that 2 of the climbers were your cousins.
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Dec 27, 2013 @ 7:35 am
    I did think this was a great read. Truly heartbreaking how many people die in pursuit of this summit.
  • sousababy Dec 27, 2013 @ 12:48 am
    I'm relieved that your cousins turned back. Last year, we had a Canadian woman, 33 years old, die on Mt. Everest (one of 6 who lost their lives May 19th, 2012). Aside from the physical demands, equipment and oxygen must be more than adequate. Unfortunately, this Canadian woman had enough oxygen to reach the summit - but not for the return trip. Real life is dramatic enough and I do enjoy reading about these true stories. (There's often something to learn from them too).