Character Analysis: Into Thin Air

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The book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer tells the story of his Everest expedition in 1996. Though ideally everyone would survive this expedition unharmed, this was unfortunately not the case; all the dangers of Everest can lead to hypoxia, frostbite, falling into a crevasse, or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Krakauer describes how Ngawang Topche, a Sherpa who assisted Scott Fischer’s Everest expedition, developed HAPE while climbing the mountain and the effect it had on him. High Altitude Pulmonary Edema is “typically brought on by climbing too high, too fast” where “the lungs fill with fluid” from the pulmonary arteries, which are exposed to high pressure because of the altitude (Krakauer 113). Though Ngawang likely could have survived …show more content…
Furthermore, these guides must ensure everyone’s well-being. Scott Fischer failed to fulfill his responsibility as a guide, as his negligence was partially responsible for Ngawang’s death. As previously mentioned, when Scott Fischer was descending from Camp Two to Base Camp, he recognized that Ngawang was exhibiting some dangerous symptoms and instructed him to descend to Base Camp (Krakauer 112). While this in itself is the responsible thing to do, it is unclear that Scott Fischer ensured Ngawang was descending to Base Camp. This irresponsibility is escalated by the fact that Fischer himself was descending to Base Camp, so it would have been relatively easy for him to assist or accompany Ngawanga. However, he failed to do so, and thus Ngawanga was free to climb higher on the mountain and spend the night at a high altitude, and since this contributed to Ngawang’s death, so did Fischer’s actions. Fischer’s role as a guide was ridiculed several times, since he allows his team to go up and down the mountain as they please, which limits his ability to keep track of them (Krakauer 113). Because of this, there was a delay in his becoming aware of Ngawang’s condition, and because his clients are allowed free roam of the mountain, there were only two inexperienced climbers at Camp Two to care for Ngawang and assist him down to Base Camp (Krakauer 113). Both of these errors are also likely to have contributed to Ngawang’s death, and perhaps if Fischer had been a more responsible guide, Ngawang would not have

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