Thoughts on: “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer

“Into Thin Air” is Jon Krakauers gripping first hand account of the May 1996 Mt. Everest disaster. Standing on the top of the worlds highest mountain he couldn’t see any signs of a deadly storm coming in. But he was wrong. When the group arrived at base camp, the mountain had claimed 5 lives and left the ones surviving in a guilt-ridden state.

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“People who don’t climb mountains, the great majority of human kind that is to say, tend to assume that the sport is a reckless Dionysian pursuit of ever escalating thrills. But the notion that climbers are barely adrenaline junkies is a fallacy. At least in the case of Everest. …The ratio of misery to pleasure was greater by an order of magnitude than any other mountain I’ve been on. I quickly came to understand that climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain.”

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It’s a really good and my first one the topic of mountaineering. One thing that stuck with me was the climbers anti-climactic feeling of reaching the peak. There is no beer and BBQ being served at the top of the world. No warming tea and campfires to comfort you while enjoying the view. And that’s because, you know, people need air! Instead it’s just a few painful minutes of snapping photos before you have make the climb down again, realizing you are only halfway to the finish line.

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📝 Sherpa people are an ethnic group living in the Himalayas. They are fantastic mountaineers and are frequently used to support expeditions to Everest because of their ability to endure high altitudes.

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📝 For mountaineering purist the only “real” Everest climbs are done without bottled oxygen.

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📝 There is a movie based on this book called “Everest”. I didn’t know it was base on this book and now I’m excited to see it!

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Don’t climb Everest.

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Maybe it’s because stepping out of society and into the wilderness is more enticing to me, than ascending a cold mountain, but I like “Into the wild” a lot more than this book. Situations where one cannot breath just isn’t for me.

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What is your favorite books about endurance?

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4/5

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Thoughts on: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

Christopher McCandless was found dead in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. ——————————————

He graduated 2 years earlier, having what we would call a “promising” career ahead of him. But Alex had other plans. He donated his 25.000$ worth of savings to charity, left his family and society as a whole.

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Disgusted by the rat race, conformity and addiction to security that defines the middle class, and inspired by writers like Jack London, Thoreau and Tolstoy, he started to search truer way of living. Trying to find the essence of the human experience.

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“…The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”

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📝 Don’t go to the Alaskan wilderness without a map if you lack wilderness experience.

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📝 Be careful with seeds. They can be poisonous even though the plant is edible.

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📝”Happiness [is] only real when shared” The last written statement of McCandless. Some people find this statement to be profound. But i think it’s more a result of that he is starving to death, alone ,in the wilderness than a profound insight. ——————————————

Overall great book! Reads like fiction and gives you a lot to think about.

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Which books would you bring if you went Into the wild?

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5/5

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Thoughts on: “Under The Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer

The year is off to a good start with a third Krakauer book under my belt!

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Mormonism is not a big thing here in Sweden (The are less than 10 000 Saints residing here) and this is my first close look at the Mormon faith.

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It’s a history of Mormonism told around story the brutal murders of an innocent woman and child that was carried out by fundamentalist after receiving a “death list” from God through a revelation.

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📝 “Common sense is no match for the words of God.”

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📝 The big difference between Mormons and Mormon fundamentalists is that the latter put a strong emphasis on the Divine right for men to take multiple wives.

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📝 Josef Smith (the prophet) had 30-40 wife’s. The youngest was 14 and the proposal sounded like this: “Be my wife or suffer eternal damnation”.

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📝 One of the early unique selling points of early Mormonism was the the followers where encouraged to have their own talks with God directly. This made the follower harder to control and was quickly turned into something exclusive for the profet.

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📝 Education is a big problem for “the work”. Mormons sometimes send the their kids off to get an education and they come back asking uncomfortable questions. Like why is the geology professor saying the world is 4.5 billion year old and not 6 000?

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: For non religious people these people seem very gullible, but don’t forget what a huge comfort religion is.

“It’s It provides all the answer, It makes life simple”.

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Krakauer paints a dark picture of incest, polygamy and blood atonement of fundamentalists branches of the Latter Day Saints but the more mainstream parts get their fair share of criticism too.

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Herein lies my main issue I have with this book. It is demonizing in a way that makes it feel very one-sidedness. Lack of nuance is away a red flag for me. But I still really loved the book and I’m planning to make a similar dive into the Amish way of life. If you have any recommendations for me on that subject, let me know!

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4/5

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Photo credit: @unklgeorge (Instagram)

Best Books of the Year – #5

#5 “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

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Christopher McCandles was found dead in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. He had left society and family behind, burned his money (literary) and set off on a journey to find the true essence of life, far away from job security, conformity and a monotonous middle class existence.

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

It’s a incredible story that stays with you long after you turned the last page.

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Apart from forcing me to ask myself a lot of questions about how life ought to be lived, it also introduced me to the author Jon Krakauer. I have now started my third book by him, “Under the Banner of Heaven”, and earlier this year I read his Everest-book “Into Thin Air”. Good stuff!

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

Have you read any Krakauer books?

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017