Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air Irony

Indifference at the Summit (Dramatic Irony)

The indifference that Krakauer feels upon reaching the summit of Mt. Everest is an example of irony. Krakauer had long expected that achieving his childhood dream would be a triumphant and exhilarating experience. But when the moment finally comes he is too exhausted and anxious to care.

Disregarding the Evidence (Dramatic Irony)

When Krakauer first considers the Outside magazine assignment, he lists many reasons why he is unprepared and under-qualified. Despite all signs suggesting he should not undertake the assignment, he decides to follow his childhood dream and do it anyway. This is particularly ironic given that Krakauer often cites good judgement as a key trait of the successful climber.

Death is Preferable to Survival (Dramatic Irony)

At the height of the storm, Krakauer is so exhausted and in pain that he temporarily gives up moving forward and sits still. It is ironic that he finds this preferable to the intense struggle of continuing to move, even though he knows staying still means certain death. Rob Hall and Yasuko Namba have similar experiences, where death seems like the more reasonable option compared to the fight to stay alive.

Disaster on an Expert's Watch (Situational Irony)

Another example of irony is that the worst disaster in the history of Mt. Everest happened to an expedition guided by Rob Hall, one of the world's most experienced and respected climbers. There are multiple instances where Krakauer mentioned that nobody, including Rob Hall, imagined that such a tragedy could happen under his watch. This irony highlights the unpredictable nature of climbing, which pays no heed to experience.