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Ikumi Miyazaki

College Comp. I
Block 3
Mrs. Gotterson
Double Entry Journals, Into Thin Air
Text from the book


Straddling the top of the world, one foot in

China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice
from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder
against the wind, and stared absently down at
the vastness of Tibet...Id been fantasizing
about this moment, and the release of emotion
that would accompany it for many months. But
now that I was finally here, actually standing
on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldnt
summon the energy to care (Krakauer 7).

I think introduction is very interesting

because this story begins from him reaching
the top of Mount Everest. I thought thats
one of the main parts of this book, but it is
certainly not. From chapter one, I know that
Krakauer makes it to the top of Mount
Everest, which means that the climax of the
story must occur somewhere else.
Krakauers description of him standing on
the top of the mountain warns us of some
impending disaster. Instead of just saying
that he is standing at the top, he describes his
location by relating to three separate
countries. As a reader it seems very exotic to
be at his location, but at the end of this
passage, he says that he doesnt care, which
surprised me.

Later- after six bodies had been located, after

a search for two others had been abandoned,
after surgeons had amputated the gangrenous
right hand of my teammate Beck Weatherspeople would ask why, if the weather had
begun to deteriorate, had climbers on the upper
mountain not heeded sign? Why did veteran
Himalayan guides keep moving forward,
ushering a gaggle of relatively inexperienced
amateurs- each of whom had paid as much as
$65,000 to be taken safely up to Everasy-into
an apparent death trap? (Krakauer 8).

Krakauers writing style is powerful in this

passage because the repetition of words such
as after, had and why creates the
rhythmical sounds while reading this
passage. And parallel structure of sentences
was also effective. The use of dashes made
this sentences more casual and
conversational because it sounded like he
was talking to the reader. Each sentence is
long with few commas. The effect of this
sentence structure is to cause the reader to
pause and wonder about two questions.

Harris, whod left the summit shortly after I

did, soon pulled up behind me. Wanting to
conserve whatever oxygen remained my tank. I
asked him to reach inside my backpack and

By the use of the sentence length, this

passage emphasizes Krakauers fear. Each
sentence sounds like the number of breaths
he was taking. The imagery shown through

turn off the valve on my regulator, which he

did. For the next ten minutes I felt surprisingly
good. My head cleared. I actually seemed less
tired than I had with the gas turned on. Then,
abruptly, I sensed that I was suffocating. My
vision dimmed and my head began to spin. I
was on the brink of losing consciousness
(Krakauer 10).

this paragraph makes us feel like we are in

that situation. Another thing that came up to
my mind was why Harris mistakenly turned
the valve the wrong way even though hes
the guide. If he is the guide, he needs to be
responsible about climbers and should know
how to use the oxygen tank. Did he do that
on purpose?

An hour later I met Hall in the flesh. He stood

six foot three or four and was skinny as a pole.
There was something cherubic about his face,
yet he looked older than his thirty-five yearsperhaps it was sharply etched creases at the
corners of his eyes, or the air of authority he
projected. He was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt
and faded Levis patched on one knee with an
embroidered yin-yang symbol. An unruly
thatch of brown hair corkscrewed across his
forehead/ His shrublike beard was in need of a
trim. Gregarious by nature, Hall proved to be a
skillful raconteur with caustic Kiwi wit...I liked
him quickly (Krakauer 33).

The description of this man is very precisely

written using metaphors and similes such as
skinny as a pole,sharply etched creases,
and shrublike beard which helps us to
visualize his physical appearance. Hall is
Krakauers guide and from this passage, I
can tell that Hall is a kind of person who all
of the clients like and respect. Words such as
cherubic and raconteur help us to
understand Halls personality. I had to look
these words on the dictionary and these
words helped me to understand his

The main room of the lodge where we stayed

was furnished with wooden bunk platforms for
some thirty people. I found an unoccupied bunk
on the upper level, shook as many fleas and lice
as possible from the solid mattress, and spread
out my sleeping bag. Against the near wall was
a small iron stove that supplied heat by burning
yak dung. After sunset the temperature dropped
well below freezing, and porters flocked in
from the cruel night to warm themselves
around the stove. Because dung burns poorly
under the best of circumstances, and especially
so in the oxygen depleted air of 16200 feet, the
lodge filled with dense, acrid smoke, as if the
exhaust from a diesel bus were being piped
directly into the room. Twice during the night,
coughing uncontrollably, I had to flee outside
for air. By morning my eyes were burning and
bloodshot, my nostrils were clogged with black
soot, and Id developed a dry persistent hack

To show how disgusting the lodge was,

Krakauer used descriptive words and
He first introduced how the room looked
like and described that fleas and lice
spreading out from his bag. By just reading
the first two or three sentences makes me
realize the room looks disgusting. My
favorite sentence in this passage is the part
where he says, lodge filled with dense,
acrid smoke as if the exhaust from a diesel
bus were being piped directly into the
room. He uses simile to describe the scent
in the lodge, and every detail he put into a
sentence was effective.

that would stay with me until the end of

expedition (Krakauer 54).
The leader of the expedition, Gau Ming Ho- a
jovial freelance photographer who calls himself
makalu after the striking Himalayan peak of
that name- was exhausted and frostbitten and
had to be assisted down the upper mountain by
a pair of Alaskan guides. as the Alaskan
brought him down, Anker reports, Makalu
was yelling Victory! Victory! We made
summit! to everyone they passed, as if the
disaster hadnt even happened (Krakauer 97).

In this passage, it talks about Taiwanese

people who are not prepared and not
familiar with standard tools and techniques
of glacier travel (97). If they are going to
climb the Mount Everest, they should know
all the fundamental skills needed to climb
because Mt. Everest is the highest mountain,
so they have to know all the risks. I think
the Taiwanese people shouldnt have relied
everything on Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker
just because they are the most skilled
alpinists. If they didnt help, more people
could have died from the storm. It was
tough for the two alpinists to help those
Taiwanese people to be evacuated using the
helicopter because they would have to go
down to a certain altitude. The Taiwanese
people should be thankful to Alex and
Conrad. This passage angered me because
this person, Gau Ming-Ho, indicates that he
didnt get any help from anyone and didnt
appreciate the fact that Anker was rescuing
him. When we face a dangerous situation,
we tend to forget to appreciate people who
are helping us.

I for there in few seconds, Silver recalls.

Ngawangs skin looked blue. He had vomited
all over the place, and his face and chest were
covered with frothy pink sputum. It was an
ugly mess. Ingrid was giving him mouth-tomouth through all the vomit. I took one look at
the situation and thought, This guy is going to
die unless he gets intubated. Silver sprinted to
the nearby clinic for emergency equipment,
inserted an endotracheal tube down Ngawangs
throat, and began forcing oxygen into his
ambu bag at which point the Sherpa
spontaneously regained a pulse and blood
pressure. By the time Ngawangs heart started
beating again, however, a period of
approximately ten minutes had passed in which
little oxygen had reached his brain. As Silver
observes, Ten minutes without a pulse of
sufficient blood oxygen level is more than
enough time to do severe neurological damage
(Krakauer 117).

Krakauer included every single detailed

information into this one paragraph to show
the severity of Ngawags HAPE (Highaltitude pulmonary edema). My heart beat
quickly because I can visualize the situation
Krakauer was in and the fear of seeing
someone about to die. Ngawags skin color,
his clothes, his facial expression, every
single detail written in this paragraph are so
powerful that makes the reader feel scared.
Two paragraphs before this passage also
described how Ngawang was getting fragile
that he kept vomiting and losing his breath.
Even though I have never encountered this
kind of situation, I was still able to imagine
Krakauers fear and nervousness through
this passage. If I were him, I would feel
helpless because I am not a doctor or
experienced climber, and the only thing I
could do in front of Ngawang is just to
watch him suffering and pray for his

Above the comforts of Base Camp, the

expedition in fact became an almost Calvinistic
undertaking. The ratio of misery to pleasure
was greater by an order of magnitude than any
other mountain Id been on; I quickly came to
understand that climbing Everest was primarily
about enduring pain. And in subjecting
ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium,
and suffering, it struck me that most of us were
probably seeking, above all else, something
like a state of grace (Krakauer 140).

I agree with what Krakauer is trying to say

here. He is saying that even though climbers
have a variety of motives to get to the top of
Everest, money or bragging rights are not
enough to power a climber through these
conditions. Perseverance is one of the most
factors to climb this highest mountain, and I
dont want people to begin randomly
climbing Mount Everest with a huge amount
of risks.

There were more than fifty people camped on

the Col that night, huddled in shelters pitched
side by side, yet an odd feeling of isolation
hung in the air. The roar of the wind made it
impossible to communicate from one tent to the
next. In this godforsaken place, I felt
disconnected from the climbers around meemotionally, spiritually, physically- to a degree

Krakauer's words in this passage emphasize

his isolation at camp and how frightening
that is. He realizes that his teammates might
not be the safety net at all. He climbed faster
than other teammates and the higher they
climbed, their health unravels, and their
minds and bodies - meaning their faith and
trust in each other - unravel. Their

I hadnt experienced on any previous

expedition. We were a team in name only, Id
sadly come to realize. Although in a few hours
we would leave camp as a group, we would
ascend as individuals, linked to one another by
neither rope nor any deep sense of loyalty
(Krakauer 170).

confidence will decrease as they continue

climbing and it is hard to care about others
when you have to take care of yourself. I
would feel the same way if I were in his
situation. I would be too busy taking care of
myself that I wouldnt bother to worry
others. I think it is very important to be able
to trust the teammates you are climbing with
to help each other because this will help
emotionally and physically.

Not wanting to jeopardize their ascent by

stopping to assist him, the Japanese team
continued climbing toward the summit
(Krakauer 253).

Chapter 18 mainly focuses on the Japanese

climbing team. Even though this group had
the opportunity to save or help all three of
the Indian climbers, they didnt try to help
because they didn't want to expend time or
energy to do anything else. Krakauer
compares the callousness of this group and
his teammates to save others. I wonder why
the Japanese group refused to help. As a
Japanese person, I wish they could have at
least tried to help them. This is not because
of what Krakauer wrote, but since this
passage includes Japanese climbers, I felt
personal wish that these people should have
been more helpful, and I felt embarrassed
simply because of my nationality.