1996 Mt. Everest Disaster

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In 1996, a number of expedition teams ascended Mount Everest. During May, a storm hit Everest, causing lives to be lost. This event is now known as the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and it brought changes to mountain climbing. Numerous individuals wrote about the events that occurred during this climb. Among these individuals was Jon Krakauer, a writer and member of Rob Hall’s expedition team, who provided his account of the events in his book Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. Krakauer’s book was met with criticism from other climbers and mountaineers. His credibility was questioned as well because of the effects that high altitudes have on the human body. Perhaps the most critical of Krakauer was Anatoli Boukreev. …show more content…
Climbing to high altitudes has significant effects on the human body. Altitude sickness and hypoxia are extremely serious ailments that affect the brain and body. Not to mention that climbing a severe slope would cause exhaustion, which has poor effects on the mind too. Altitude sickness has been known to have symptoms such as vision problems, reduced awareness, shortened memory, poor judgement, lowered attention span, and changes in mood (“Altitude Effects on the Human Body”). If vision problems were affecting Krakauer, he may not have been seeing what he thought he was and therefore could have recorded events improperly. With reduced awareness and lowered attention span, Krakauer would have experienced difficulties in focusing and recognizing what was happening around him, again bringing question to whether the events he recorded were accurate. Krakauer himself stated that the altitude had made events, especially the times they occurred, hard to recall (Krakauer xvi). He had to check with other climbers about events during and after, to be sure he was accurately remembering what had transpired (xvi). Changes in mood and poor judgement could explain Krakauer’s characterization of Boukreev. If Boukreev was truly represented poorly in Into Thin Air, it could have been due to Krakauer having altitude sickness. Cerebral hypoxia is caused by high altitudes, like altitude sickness. Hypoxia occurs when there is a lack of …show more content…
His reliability has been questioned ever since his book was released. Anatoli Boukreev’s testimonies against Krakauer did not stifle this controversy, but rather fueled it. Questions regarding ethics, character portrayals, and state of mind arose. The other climbers that told their stories provided a new, unique perspective. Some of their stories corroborated Krakauer’s events, though others’ sided more with Boukreev. While the media and general public can speculate all they want about who was telling the true facts, what actually happened on that mountain, and who was responsible for the deaths that occurred, the only ones that know the real answers are those that took part of that 1996 Mount Everest

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