Beyond the Summit


In 1996, Jon Krakauer, a journalist for Outside magazine, climbed Mt. Everest as one of eight clients of a New Zealand expedition. Five of the eight made it all the way to the top. Of the five who did, only Krakauer, however, survived the climb. The other four, plus five more climbers from three other expeditions, died as a rogue storm blew in that afternoon.

In Into Thin Air, Krakauer described what it was like to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain and ceiling of the world.

"I'd been fantasizing about this moment," he writes, "and the release of emotion that would accompany it, for many months. But now that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, I just couldn't summon the energy to care …

"Reaching the top of Everest is supposed to trigger a surge of intense elation … But the summit was really only the halfway point. Any impulse I might have felt toward self-congratulation was extinguished by overwhelming ...

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