The Concept Of Commercialism In Krakauer’s Into Thin Air

Into thin air, written by Jon Krakauer, encounters the fatal story of the Mt. Everest expedition in 1996. The concept of commercialism reveals as Krakauer is employed to report for Outside Magazine regarding extreme climbing expeditions in Mount Everest. Krakauer agrees to participate within the expedition with inexperienced climbers being led by Rob Hall. The novel explains the catastrophic events in Krakauer's journey as he fulfills a sense of success for reaching the top of the mountain peak, of an altitude of 29,000 ft. Commercialism is displayed as costly expeditions are charging large sums to inexperienced climbers, wanting attention from the media, and the pressure of the guides who will be faced with some disasters along the way.

In the novel, Krakaueer explains, “I wasn't sure what to make of my fellow clients. In outlook and experience they were nothing like the hard-core climbers with whom I usually went into the mountains. But they seemed like nice, decent folks, and there wasn't a certifiable asshole in the entire group—at least not one who was showing his true colors at this early stage of the proceedings.” (Krakauer, 39) The various personalities of those affluent individuals, were nothing like the climbers in whom Krakauer would normally climb with. For instance, a few of the individuals had a strong will to reach the highest of the mountain peak, however a few others teammates were extremely too comfortable. Sandy Pitman, celebrity client of Scott Fischer’s, in whom has brought a few out of the ordinary items along the way in the expedition. As an inexperienced climber, Pittman decides to hire Sherpas to help her carry extra baggage. The extra baggage consisted of food and luxuries such as a portable television. Pittman plays a role in how her money has given her an upper hand of being entitled as she is involved with the media to gather information for NBC. As media attention would often be involved, Pitman would take participation in the expedition as viewers would see the fate of climbing Everest. Unfortunately, Pittman’s role of the media had received a negative backlash of causing complications, and some of the blame for the disasters in along the way.

The commercialization of the expedition is commonly stressed that the bulk of the time is preparing than really climbing. Doug Hansen, a middle-classed postal employee, had received a second probability of climbing Everest with the assistance of an elementary school. Krakauer explains, “This was Doug's second shot at Everest with Hall. The year before, Rob had forced him and three other clients turn back just 330 feet below the top because the hour was late and the summit ridge was buried beneath a mound of deep, unstable snow. 'The summit looked sooooo close,'Doug recalled with a painful laugh.” (Krakauer, 72) Doug was once near to reaching the summit a year before, but sadly had to turn back due to certain circumstances. Hansen was described as an impelled man determined to achieve the top of Everest. The massive sums of money were given to the climbing expedition as he would assume he was in great condition for his second attempt, however leading to his fatal death in the mountain. Hansen displayed the role of inexperienced climbers, as his attempt once more was sadly not timed properly.

As climbing expeditions were changing into a well-liked activity throughout the 1990s, guides on the expedition faced the pressure of leading a prospering trip. Rob Hall, Krakauer’s guide, was trusted among new climbers in hopes of reaching the top of Everest. In addition, Krakaeur states, “Inexperienced amateurs- each of whom had paid as much as $65,000 to be taken safely up Everest- into an apparent death trap?”. The expedition guides were being depended on to lead inexperienced people in whom, the people or the guide were not certain of surviving. Krakauer also adds, “By this time Hall was a full-time professional climber. And he was savvy enough to understand that the more attention he got from the news media, the easier it would be to coax corporations to open their checkbooks.” (Krakauer, 34) Although Hall was a knowledgeable climber, the pressure of the corporations may have been at fault with unsafe conditions. In an article written by BBC illustrates, “But there is a line. The moment I realize that any of my clients will not make it, I will abort the mission.' Guides, along with Sherpas, were not guaranteed a safe trip whereas pressure was added knowing that their training could not defeat mother nature itself.

The value in commercialism is shown throughout the novel while the pressure on teams reaching the very best altitude of earth would hopefully grant them a way of success. Sadly, the climb up high granted additional pain and fatal disasters along the expedition. The characters within the novel show completely different roles of commercialism as all of them were entitled to have their shot to reach the top. Although money failed to guarantee their lives to be saved, commercialism is commonly shown to have additional struggles than succeeding itself. 

16 December 2021
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