Biography of Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer was born in 1954, the third of five children, and grew up in Corvallis, Oregon. His father, Lewis Krakauer, a doctor and weekend climber, introduced him to mountaineering when he was eight. He went to Hampshire College, from which he graduated in 1976; thereafter, he divided his time between Colorado, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest, working as a carpenter and salmon fisherman, traveling around, and mountain-climbing as much as possible.

Krakauer’s father was greatly disappointed that Jon didn’t go into medicine, but Jon was passionate about writing and climbing, and he has accomplished many great mountain-climbing feats. He has written for Outside, Architectural Digest, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications. In 1990, he published two books: Eiger Dreams, a collection of mountaineering essays, and Iceland: Land of the Sagas, a book of his photographs.

In 1996 Krakauer reached the top of Mt. Everest, but four of his five teammates were killed in a storm as they descended from the peak. He wrote Into Thin Air about both this calamity and the general commercialization of Mt. Everest; the book became a #1 New York Times bestseller. It has been translated into 24 languages, and has won numerous awards. Krakauer published Into the Wild 1996, also to great acclaim and commercial success, and in 2003 he published Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, which examines the nature of religious passion through the lens of Mormon Fundamentalism, a common religion in the area where Krakauer grew up. Since then, Krakauer has released Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (2009), about a football-star-turned-army-hero; Three Cups of Deceit (2011), exposing humanitarian figure Greg Mortensen as a fraud; and Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (2015), exploring how colleges handle cases of sexual assault on campus.


Study Guides on Works by Jon Krakauer

In January 1993, Jon Krakauer published an article in Outside magazine about the death of Chris McCandless, a young Emory graduate who had donated all of his money to charity, gotten rid of all his belongings, changed his name, and, in April 1992,...