Rob Hall is the most accomplished guide on Everest in 1996 by a long shot. Given this immense experience, it's shocking—and heartbreaking—that he walks headlong into such a devastating disaster.
The worst part is that Hall sees this disaster coming. As the leader of the most prominent commercial guiding firm on the mountain, Hall knows a thing or two about the changing landscape of Everest, with more people than ever flocking to the mountain who have less and less experience. He even directly states this, saying that "with so many incompetent people on the mountain […] it's pretty unlikely that [they'll] get through this season without something bad happening up high" (7.49).
Despite this foresight, Hall makes some serious tactical errors as his team barrels toward the summit. The most perplexing of these is his decision to keep leading Doug Hansen to the summit despite it becoming too late in the day for them to safely descend. Although no one knows for sure why this veteran makes such an amateur mistake, Krakauer suspects that "it would have been especially hard for him to deny Hansen the summit a second time" (17.10) after failing to lead him to the summit several years prior.
But no one knows for sure. So instead of dallying on his mistakes, of which we know little, we'd much rather focus on Hall's good qualities, of which we know a ton. As we encounter Hall in the book, he is dedicated to his clients above all else. He is also dedicated to his family, and he treats everyone with respect, whether they're wealthy Manhattan socialites or low-paid Sherpa cooks. In light of this, we think it's much more valuable to celebrate the way Hall lived, rather than question the way that he died.
Essay on Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
1233 Words5 Pages
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer On May 10, 1996, nine people perished on Mt. Everest. Jon Krakauer, a writer from Outside magazine, was there to witness the events and soon after write the book, Into Thin Air, chronicling the disaster. Jon Krakauer is not only the writer and narrator of Into Thin Air but is also one of the main characters. Originally Outside Magazine planned to send Krakauer to Everest in order for him to write a story for the magazine. The climb was completely financed by the magazine with one of the leading Everest guide groups led by Rob Hall, an elite climber. Krakauer divides the people on the mountain into two main categories, tourist and elite. The elite being guides and Sherpas like Hall, Harris and Ang Dorje,…show more content…
Despite his impressive record he had never attempted anything close to the scale of Everest, whose summit is at an extremely dangerous altitude. He even admits to his relative inexperience with high altitude saying, “Truth be told, I’d never been higher than 17,200 feet--not even as high as Everest Base Camp”(28). Krakauer also mentions how he has gotten out of shape over the years partially because of the lack of climbing in his life, making him even less prepared for the assent. Krakauer shows a definite fear of such a high mountain, referring to climbers who have perished in the past. He states that, “Many of those who died had been far stronger and possessed vastly more high-altitude experience than I.” (28). Even though Krakauer’s experience may be more relevant to the Everest assent than some of the other tourist climbers, it is nowhere near the level needed to be considered an elite climber.
One of the most important qualities that an elite climber must have is leadership. The elite climbers and guides must be able to meet a number of new people that are strangers to each other and build some sense of a team. Krakauer does not have a strong background in leading groups or building comradery, which is key for a climb like Everest. Krakauer says himself, “In climbing, having confidence in your partners is no small concern” (40). He also mentions how the actions of one climber can “affect the welfare of the entire team” (40). The type of group he climbed with on