Krakauer Not a Fan of Everest Film

Everest may not have been a massive success at the box office, but it continues to generate headlines with the outdoor community. The latest story revolving the film has Jon Krakauer, author of the seminal book Into Thin Air, sharing his thoughts on the film, and lets just say he isn’t a fan.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Krakauer says that the film is “total bull” and says that the film took some liberties with the story. The author was of course on Everest when the events depicted in the film took place back in 1996, and while his book was used a source material for the movie, it isn’t based on that best selling account of the story. Instead, the film’s producers consulted a number of people who were there – Krakauer wasn’t among them – and based their telling of the tale off of a variety of different sources.

If you’ve seen the film you probably can understand why Krakauer isn’t exactly lining up to endorse it. In one scene, Russian guide Anatoli Boukreev asks Krakauer – played by actor Michael Kelly – to help him go back out to search for missing climbers caught in a storm. In the movie, Krakauer says he can’t do that because he is suffering from snow blindness. The writer says that the scene isn’t only not factual, it never even happened.

In a later scene, Krakauer is heard to say that it will be tough enough for the climbers to descend the mountain on their own, let alone helping others get down safely. As a result of these two moments in the movie, he comes across as being someone who doesn’t want to lend a hand during the aftermath of the disaster, and only cares about his own well being.

It should come as no surprise that Krakauer says that if we want a true account of what happened during the 1996 climbing season we should read his book instead, even though it isn’t without its controversies as well. Still, it is widely considered to be one of the best accounts of the disaster, and as with all book vs. film comparisons it has the luxury of going into greater detail on the characters and events.

Kraig Becker