1997 book by Jon Krakauer
about an ascent of Mount Everest
that killed nine of the people Krakauer climbed with, including an experienced and respected guide.
Krakauer was sent by Outside Magazine to write an article about the commercialization of Mount Everest. Apparently, any fool with about $65,000 can more or less be carried up Everest by some experienced guides and a couple of Sherpas. The result is a lot of trash on the slopes of Everest and in the base camps leading up to it, as well as people of questionable fitness trying to make the climb. Now there are several more bodies on the slope -- it's interesting to note that most everyone who dies on Everest stays up there, and remains well-preserved by the cold.
The description of the climb is fascinating -- it's a multi-stage process, that involves acclimating to the high altitudes by spending time at a series of base camps. Krakauer spends most of his time at the base camps violently ill from altitude sickness, and is severly weakened by the time he makes it to the final ascent. Another member of Krakauer's party nearly goes blind because the tiny inscisions in his retina from laser myopia correction allow his eye to expand because of the decreased pressure at altitude.
By the time the final push to the top comes, a fully Murphy's Law-compliant clusterfuck goes down. They leave late, ignore a lot of warnings, walk into a storm, and lots of people die. It's sobering to read.
This story was the scoop of a lifetime for Krakauer, but it nearly came at the expense of his life. It's an absolutely gripping story -- I couldn't stop reading this book. I particularly recommend reading it in combination with Into the Wild.
changed moore's law to murphey's law -ed