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Into Thin Air, By Jon Krakauer

777 words - 3 pages

In the novel Into Thin Air, the author Jon Krakauer shows us two characters who have some similarities, yet are markedly different. Rob Hall and Scott Fischer are both world renowned mountain climbers as well as the leaders and head guides of their own mountain climbing enterprises. Each employ the respect of his peers, yet here is where the similarities end. With differences in their physical stature, climbing styles, and safety concerns, it would seem that one was destined to succeed and other to fail.

Krakauer describes Hall as being a thirty-five-year-old man standing at "six foot three or four and skinny as a pole" (31). His approach to climbing and guiding was meticulous and demanding. He paid close attention to details and had an intense desire to succeed. Hall made many successful climbs prior to his attempt at Everest. In 1990, after three separate attempts over a span of ten years, Hall finally made the summit of Everest. Hall’s flair for publicity had allowed him the success of his prior climbs, but he decided that the guiding business was preferable to constantly pursuing sponsorships. After creating Adventure Consultants, his mountain climbing enterprise, Hall became very successful at getting his clients to the top of Mount Everest. By 1996, he was charging sixty-five thousand dollars per person. This fee was the highest of all the companies on Mt. Everest.

Hall’s success rate was not only due to his attention to detail but his attention to safety and the knowledge that without the Sherpas, any attempt at guiding on Everest would be disastrous. Hall’s ability to plan and coordinate ensured that his clients had plenty of food and supplies and that they became acclimatized to the higher altitudes. Each base camp was set up prior to his clients’ arrival and the Sherpa laborers carried almost all of the supplies, thus leaving his clients unencumbered. Hall maintained that his clients climbed as a cohesive group as well as enforcing the turn-around times with the notable exception of the summit climb. Showing genuine concern for his Sherpa help, Hall made sure his clients understood their importance and was cavillous of other expedition leaders’ indifference to their Sherpa help.

While most people would agree that wisdom comes with age and recklessness is for the young, such is not the case with Scott Fischer....

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