Significance of the Setting in Into Thin Air

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Into Thin Air takes place in the area around and on Mount Everest in the year 1996. This is significant because at that altitude, the oxygen level isn’t as high as it would be at sea level. With their brains not receiving enough oxygen, the climbers were not able to think at their full mental capacity. Therefore many simple mistakes were made that should not have been. High altitude cerebral edema and high altitude pulmonary edema caused problems with some of the climbers and Sherpas. Beck Weather’s vision was reduced to near blindness by the altitude as he climbed higher and higher. The temperature and the weather were also two large factors in the disaster. Had there not been the storm on the day all the teams made their attempts at the summit, the death count very possibly could have been zero. The time period in the book doesn’t differ much from what today is like, except for a few luxuries and the technology we have now. The climate in the Himalayas and the climate where we live is different, but in a way, they are also similar. In the summer, the afternoons can be very warm, and they are both in the relatively same temperate zone. Despite these similarities, the winters are very different. While Ohio’s can be harsh, temperatures in the Himalayas during a winter storm can drop way below freezing. The setting of Into Thin Air reminds me of the blizzards Ohio occasionally has when the snow is waist deep. In the end, what affected the characters the most was the fact that it was nearly impossible to evacuate the climbers from the mountain by the means of a helicopter.
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