Mount Everest’s summit in the book into thin air by Jon Krakauer

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Commercialism on Everest

Into Thin Air, a national bestselling novel written by Jon Krakauer, told about the 1996 trek to the summit of Mount Everest and the catastrophic events on that day that resulted in the death of eight people. Jon, a proficient climber and journalist, was sent by Outside Magazine to climb Everest in 1996 and write an article about his experience. Rob Hall, a renowned New Zealand mountaineer, led Krakauer and his teammates on one of the deadliest Everest hikes ever. Supplementary teams, including Scott Fischers and Antoli Bourkeevs teams, were also trying to summit when an unexpected storm hit. This is the story of the Mount Everest tragedy of 1996. The novel gave insight into the many ways money played a role in the commercialization of the world’s highest mountain. Commercialism embedded itself in climbing in multiple ways including: the cost to climb the mountain, the fight for which guide service could attract the most media attention, and the pressure on the guides to summit.

The cost of climbing the highest summit in the world was clearly a key component to the theme of commercialism. The fee abruptly rose from “$2,300 for a permit that allowed a team of any size” (25) in 1991 to “$10,000 for a team of up to nine climbers, with another $1,200 to be paid for each additional climber” (25) in the following year alone. The price rose that much because the Nepalese ministers raised the price of climbing permits. By raising the cost of the climbing permits they hoped to limit crowds and still increase the cash flow. In 1993 the price rose to “$50,000 for as many as five climbers, plus $10,000 for each additional climber, maximum of seven” (25). The Nepalese authorities had no idea, however, that China was offering additional tours at a much lower cost. The higher the price rose, the more people knew about Everest and developed a thirst to climb it and learn more about it. Along with the cost of the expedition itself, there was an additional cost to pay for personal sherpas. Sherpas, Himalayan folk living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, were guides that led people up the mountain and carried their items.

The fight for media attention was also relative to the theme of commercialism. Sandy Pittman, a self-proclaimed expert climber, was a person of desire for most of the teams because of her connection to NBC Interactive Media (123). The teams were all looking for a way to catch the media’s eye. Since Sandy had such a close relation with NBC, she became a necessity for the teams and an actual part of Scott Fischer’s team. Who would summit first? was the main question that ran through everyone’s mind that was keeping track of the teams. Since they were such a cohesive team, they even reached the summit first at 1:07 PM (274). The Mountain Madness team most likely had the maximum media attention possible.

There was much pressure on the guides of the teams to see who would reach the top first. Guides knew this and because of it, they often made impaired decisions, blinded by the possibility that his team could be on the headline of a newspaper somewhere. When Antoli Bourkeev pushed his team to summit, he should have stopped due to safety concerns (263). Many other poor decisions were made due to the fact that they were so close, yet so far. Also, the pressure on guides to summit resulted in the loss of many lives (317). This was an unforgettable ordeal that would continue to live in infamy for years postliminary.

The price of climbing the mountain, fight for media attention, and pressure on the guides of the teams to summit, all were forms of commercialism. Most of the climbers only wanted to scale the mountain because of its title of the highest point on earth. They wanted to be able to say that they had been “on top of the world”. For the guides, the thought of being the first out of several teams to summit, loomed in their heads. Along with the extraordinary title of being one of the few to reach the peak of Everest. Commercialism was the main theme of the novel Into Thin Air and was the reason that many wanted to climb it in the first place.

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