Short on Breath, Short on Time

Mt. Everest is the world’s highest peak at 29,029 feet above sea level.

I love adventure, but some adventures I prefer to have second-hand by reading about them. I recently finished a fascinating, yet horrifying book by Jon Krakauer entitled Into Thin Air. Krakauer’s book is his personal account of the events that took place during the 1996 ascent of Mt. Everest that led to the deaths of 8 climbers.

In his book, Krakauer explains how a seemingly sudden storm prevented these climbers from making a safe descent to their camps. The climbers’ visibility was dangerously limited and the blizzard left them exposed to severe winds, cold and frostbite.  In addition, oxygen levels at high altitudes are quite low. To make up for this, the climbers carried small oxygen canisters with them to supplement their breathing. But the climbers did not have enough oxygen with them to get them through the long storm.

Climbing at high altitudes where there are lower oxygen levels puts climbers at risk for multiple problems. Climbers who are not getting enough oxygen can develop hypoxia, also known as altitude sickness, that can lead to the lungs or the brain filling with fluid. If the afflicted individuals do not descend to lower altitudes within a timely manner, death is most likely imminent.

So while I think I will skip climbing Everest, I will continue to have high altitude adventures from time to time from the safety of 675 feet above sea level, right here in Denton, TX.

Jon Krakauer’s book is being made into a movie called Everest, due out in theaters September 18 2015.  Read about it here:

everest movie

Read it before you see it – Click on the image below to see our library system’s availability:

into thin air

 Climbers on Everest.

everest climbers


Emily Fowler Central Library


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