Pittman is not one of the principal characters in terms of plot, but in terms of theme she has one of the most important roles. Pittman is heavily involved in the media, and goes along the expedition to dispatch pictures and information to NBC for broadcast on their website. She does not charge $65,000 a head, but she represents a whole different kind of commercialism on the mountain. Because of work like Pittman's, the entire world can see the fate of a climbing expedition.
Pittman's presence causes complications. She requires the usage of a number of heavy pieces of equipment, which the Sherpas drag up the mountain for her. Lopsang Sherpa short-ropes her up one face of the mountain, exhausting himself in the process. She and Krakauer make other climbers nervous, because they record and document the events on the mountain. After the expedition, she is met with lots of negative press and blame surrounding the disaster.