Into Thin Air

what ascent of everest was particularly important to krakauer personally and why? (Chapter two)

asked about in the second chapter

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Krakauer in telling the story of the mount, integrates the history of Everest into his own upbringing. He wasn't yet born when Hillary achieved his feat, but Krakauer talks of another famous climb by two men—Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld. These men reached the summit at dawn, a nd had to spend the night there. Although they suffered frostbite, they survived. Krakauer was nine when these two men reached the top of the world, and he explains that while friends of his idolized baseball players and other sports stars, he idolized th ese men. When Krakauer was only nine, he began dreaming of climbing Everest.

In his twenties, Krakauer lived to climb mountains, aspiring to be a serious climber. Thoughts of Everest ebbed, though, because among mountain climbing "snobs," Everest is actually thought to be less technically demanding than other mountains. When Dic k Bass, a millionaire from Texas, paid to be guided to the top, Krakauer's lack of interest in Everest was solidified.

Ironically, Dick Bass began the business that Krakauer was hired to research and report upon. Krakauer describes the booming commercialism now associated with Everest. Nepal and Tibet, both poor countries, rely upon guide services up the mountain for nati onal income. Now, it can cost upwards of $70,000 to be guided up the mountain. When Outside Magazine hired Krakauer to do the story, he was not to actually attempt the summit. However, he decided that remaining at Base Camp for a period of two mont hs would be agonizing, and he began training to climb to the top. To his surprise, the magazine subsidized the climb.