Following the doctor's advice, someone at Camp Two gives Ngawang medication and supplemental oxygen. It doesn't help, and Neil Beidleman and a group of Sherpas leave Base Camp to meet them. When the rescue group gets there, Ngawang's condition has worsened. They carry him down to Base Camp, and he improves temporarily, then begins to deteriorate. Climbing lower still, Ngawang's condition still diminishes, and one of the rescues guides also develops a case of HAPE. Ngawang, unwilling to admit that he actually has HAPE, defies the camp doctor's orders and removes his oxygen mask. He continues to get worse. Ngawang stops breathing, and camp doctors administer CPR and they intubate. Ngawang doesn't recover, and eventually dies in a hospital
Krakauer comments on how strange it is that more people at home with internet access were able to following Ngawang's story than people who were actually on the mountain. This leads him into a discussion of the websites broadcast from Everest by a number of teams, including a group filming an IMAX movie. An Internet correspondent with Fischer's team, Sandy Pittman, dispatches information for NBC Interactive Media. Pittman had attempted to climb the mountain three times in the past, and this time is accompanied by much publicity and fanfare. Sandy had announced her intention to become the first woman to climb the highest mountain on each of the continents. She climbed them all except for Everest, but another woman finished all seven first.
The acclimatizing is getting easier, but the stakes are getting higher. Krakauer sees two dead bodies in this chapter and is aware of the presence of death on the mountain. So far, he has regaled the reader with stories about famous climbers and their accidents or deaths. He has told the reader about the myriad dangerous associated with climbing Everest. However, actually seeing the bodies is entirely different. Now, there is nothing separating Krakauer from all the stories and from the knowledge that people die on the mountain. The prospect is so troubling that "few of the climbers trudging by had given either corpse more than a passing glance. It was as if there was an unspoken agreement on the mountain to pretend that these desiccated remains weren't real—as if none of us dared to acknowledge what was at stake here" (137).
What subsequently happens to Ngawang drives home the seriousness of their undertaking even further. Ngawang isn't an inexperienced climber; he is a Sherpa, and he falls victim to sickness so severely that descending doesn't save him. He is the second Sherpa to be injured thus far, and it doesn't bode well for the rest of the journey. But Krakauer and everyone else press on, not really allowing themselves to fully absorb the import of the disastrous events that are taking place.
The idea that people in their homes across the world can learn what is happening on Everest before the other climbers can is amazing. It diminishes the remoteness of the location, but only one way—the people at home might feel slightly closer to what is happening there, but the climbers on the mountain do not necessarily feel any closer to home. More than that, there is a feeling of voyeurism, of people observing the grueling and at times traumatic events that take place.
Pittman plays an instrumental role in the distribution of images and information from Everest. Her savvy and involvement in the media seem to undercut her skill and worth as a mountain climber. She is yet another person who is climbing the mountain for a reason other than to actually achieve it. Woodall, some of the other guides, the IMAX filming group, Pittman and Krakauer all have motives that extend beyond simply wanting to reach the top of the world. The reader doesn't necessarily associate Krakauer with ulterior motives, especially since he is the person bringing us the accounts, but he wouldn't have set foot on the mountain had he not been hired to do so. Even the Sherpas are on the mountain because they are being paid to help others climb. The presence of the film and internet crews further cement the idea that perhaps no one is on the mountain simply to climb it, and that everyone on the mountain is attached to a business or commercial venture.