Analysis

This last chapter informs us of just how much this disaster has transformed the climbers' lives. Krakauer has already addressed this issue in previous chapters, but restates much of it here, as if his previous words did not address the enormity of his and the other survivor's grief.

As a reader, it is difficult to know how to react to this chapter. It is unspeakably sad—everything all of the survivors have undergone during and since the horrific experience elicits extreme pathos from the reader. In fact, the sadness of the final couple chapters builds up until it is almost too much for a reader—a totally outside third party—to absorb and understand.

This chapter reads more like a journal entry than a chapter of text. Perhaps Krakauer ends so strongly this way not just to release his own sadness and anger, but as a means of catharsis for everyone in his group. In a sense, he purges for them all—he catalogs their sadness, describes their letters, the deterioration of their lives after the disaster. Almost of all of them show up in the end, still grappling with the effects of what happened, and in a sense, Krakauer issues a gigantic apology both to and on behalf of all of them.

Krakauer is fully aware that in order to write this text he has had to draw conclusions about what happened and why, and that sometimes these conclusions do not portray certain people in a positive light. Krakauer does lead us to certain conclusions with his text. The South African team is perhaps the most criminal, refusing to help anyone and everyone throughout the entire expedition. The Taiwanese team is portrayed as fairly incompetent. Lopsang refuses to help Hansen and Hall at the summit, Boukreev descends too quickly, leaving behind many clients who need his help. While Krakauer never explicitly accuses, he does suggest that many people made many poor decisions. He does not exclude himself from blame, however, believing that he contributed directly to Andy Harris's death, and being terribly upset with himself for having mistaken Adams for Harris just outside of camp on the night of May 10.