Antithesis In Into Thin Air

And both were abandoned, not once but several times, by their remaining guide and fellow clients once the going got rough.

Krakauer, who seems to have been stronger and more experienced than most of the clients, got up to the summit and back to the base camp faster than they did and was thus in his tent when the worst of the storm hit.

In fact, he is the only surviving hero of a sorry expedition---the man who was abandoned not once but three times by his companions, and lived because he wanted to so badly. He talks about the anger at him expressed by the families of some of the dead.

Krakauer reserves his one explicit apology for a misstatement he made in a magazine article he wrote soon after the disaster.

Everyone assumed he would die in the night, but no-one attempted to keep him alive by sharing the tent with him.

In fact, the group started to leave in the morning without even checking on Weathers, and by Krakauer's account, he (bringing up the rear) looked into Weathers' tent to pay his last respects.The holes in the author's moral armor show in his account of the suffering of two of the other clients, Beck Weathers and Yasuko Namba.Weathers was a Texas man in his fifties, Namba a Japanese woman in her late forties.And found him still alive, though the tent had come open, and his sleeping bags had come off."He'd been screaming for help for two or three hours, but the storm had smothered his cries." Krakauer never so much as raises the question why nobody spent the night looking after Weathers.When the storm finally cleared, the two guides, four Sherpas and two clients walked twenty minutes to the camp, leaving behind Namba, Weathers, and two others two weak to walk.One able member of the party volunteered to stay behind.A May thunderstorm, a guide's unwillingness to turn a client back from the summit for the second time, another guide's hypoxia which led him to believe falsely that some oxygen cylinders were empty, were all contributing causes.The backdrop: the belief of the guides in their own infallibility, their clients' misplaced confidence, and the human vanity of taking people up Everest who are not highly experienced mountaineers.He advised Hutchison to leave them there and concentrate on saving the lives of the people below at the camp, who still had a lot of mountain to descend to safety. Hutchison returned to camp, and three clients (including Krakauer) and a guide voted to confirm the death sentence.Here is the pure irrationality of human behavior: Hutchison organizes a group to look for the bodies, finds living people, and leaves them there. The wrongness of the choice is underlined by the fact that Beck Weathers came back to life and walked into camp by himself eight hours later. He was bundled into sleeping bags, given hot water bottles---and left in a tent by himself.


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