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December 15, 1999

Into Thin Air: Deaths on Everest—Reply

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthorMargaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephenLurieMD PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(23):2212. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-23-jbk1215

In Reply: Dr Shlim makes a good point about denominators. On page 274 of Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer says that, historically, the mortality rate of all climbers who ascend above the base camp of Mount Everest is 3.3% (neglecting whether they reach the summit). If we further dilute the denominator by including all the armchair explorers like me who want to climb Everest but then have a rational moment, we could probably show that only thinking about climbing Everest is reasonably safe.