Study Guide

Into Thin Air Chapter 16

By Jon Krakauer

Chapter 16

South Col, 6:00AM, May 11, 1996, 26,000 Feet

  • Stuart Hutchinson arrives at Krakauer's tent with odd news: Harris is missing. This is decidedly strange to Krakauer, as he had watched Harris descend to Camp Four with his own eyes.
  • After exploring the area around Camp Four, Krakauer notices "a single set of faint crampon tracks leading" (16.6) toward the edge of a cliff and assumes they belong to Harris.
  • When Krakauer wrote his initial article about the Everest disaster, this was the story he told about Harris's death. Unfortunately, it's dead wrong.
  • The man who Krakauer thought was Andy Harris was in fact Martin Adams—in their oxygen-deprivation stupor, they both hadn't realized that they were talking to one another. That still doesn't explain the footprints, though...
  • Whoa. So what happened to Harris?