Harris is one of the more altruistic guides on the expedition. He comes to the assistance of anyone and everyone without hesitation, and eventually that same sense of loyalty turns out to be his downfall.

One of Krakauer's biggest mistakes in the experience of writing the book is misinterpreting what happened to Harris. Krakauer, saw Harris on the mountain and pointed him toward camp. Later, Krakauer concluded that Harris had fallen off the mountain, but during a conversation with another climber learns that it was not Harris he saw that night.

Harris's death is one of the single biggest tragedies to unfold during the expedition. Harris and his girlfriend had just begun building a house, but he couldn't resist the lure of the mountain. Always among the first to volunteer to do work or assist clients, Harris is one of the people Krakauer trusts throughout.