Study Guide

Into Thin Air Chapter 6

By Jon Krakauer

Chapter 6

Everest Base Camp, April 12, 1996, 17,600 Feet

  • So here's the plan: The most experienced Sherpas will head up first and set up "a series of four camps above Base Camp" (6.4), lugging up food and oxygen tanks in the process.
  • Once that's done, the clients will begin a series of treks between the camps to adjust their bodies to the altitude. Their first trip will be to Camp One, which is about a mile above Base Camp.
  • They'll need to traverse the treacherous Khumbu Icefall in order to reach it. Although it isn't steep, the terrain is dotted with tons of nasty crevices that could spell an untimely death.
  • Ladders are placed along this route to make traversing these gaps easier. Like most things on Everest, this is done in conjunction between the various climbing parties.
  • After passing over a serac (a large chunk of ice with the tendency to fall at a moment's notice), Krakauer finally reaches Camp One. Dude is pooped.
  • Only few fellows reach Camp One by 10:00AM, which is their agreed-upon turn-around time. Although plenty of climbers are still mired in the icefall, everyone heads right back home
  • Beck Weathers and Yasuko Namba, a Japanese businesswoman, "looked sketchy" (6.33), in particular during the climb, and Krakauer sincerely worries about how they'll fare once they get higher up.
  • It takes about an hour to descend. Krakauer gets a pretty nasty headache during the climb and is forced to undergo medical care when they arrive, though he feels better by the end of the night.
  • The next morning, he gets a call from his wife, Linda. Although she was a climber when she was younger, too, she's none too happy that her hubby is undertaking such a risky adventure.