Study Guide

Into Thin Air Chapter 5

By Jon Krakauer

Chapter 5

Lobuje. April 8, 1996, 16,200 Feet

  • The next day, they receive word: Tenzig is recovering at base camp, where a helicopter will hopefully pick him up soon. Huzzah. With that, the squad prepares to meet up with Hall
  • Andy Hall fell ill during their stay, so Krakauer and Helen Wilton, the team's Base Camp manager, help him along. Finally, they arrive at Base Camp, which sits at a brisk "17,600 feet" (5.11).
  • Everest Base Camp is actually pretty swanky. The place runs like a mini-city, with Hall's HQ serving as its town hall—the other expedition leaders frequently meet there to discuss strategy.
  • One such dude is Scott Fischer. Although Fischer has summited Everest once before, this is his first time leading clients up the mountain.
  • Fischer and Hall go way back. Once, they were climbing K2 (a Himalayan mountain that's a hair shorter than Everest) when Hall's companion fell ill—Fischer and his pals aided in the rescue.
  • The Jersey-born upstart eventually founded his own company: Mountain Madness. That name is actually a pretty accurate reflection of his climbing style.
  • Fischer is quite ambitious as well. Starbucks is sponsoring his current mission and he's eyeing plenty more deals in the future too.
  • In fact, Krakauer was originally planning on taking this trip with Fischer's crew, but Hall "offered the magazine a significantly better deal" (5.38). That's C.R.E.A.M. in action, kids.
  • Despite Base Camp's many comforts, it's still rough being at such a high altitude—headaches, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing are all part of a day's work. Hansen, the postal worker, seems to have it worse than anyone.
  • Hansen's current climb is sponsored by the students of Sunrise Elementary School in Washington, who held several fundraisers in his honor. It's pretty adorable.
  • In order to combat altitude sickness, Hall will take the team through an "acclimatization plan" (5.52), in which they'll take trips between the lower camps to adjust their bodies to the harsh altitude.