Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
User avatar
Posts: 471
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:26 pm
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Fisching » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:11 pm

Fastinated with this book, like so many others, I felt this article was worth sharing. Jon Krakauer wrote an article in the New Yorker following up his best-seller, "Into the Wild," and revisits his theory on what killed Chris McCandless more than 20 years ago. Love him or hate him (there seems to be no middle ground), Chris McCandless remains one of the more enigmatic figures of recent history.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/09/how-chris-mccandless-died.html
Peter Aitchison on the risks of rock climbing and mountaineering: "That's life, isn't it? We think the challenge and satisfaction you get from doing this is worth the risks."

"Respect the mountain. Train hard. Hope you can sneak up when it isn't looking."

"The mind is always worried about consequences, but the heart knows no fear. The heart just does what it wants."

User avatar
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Silver Cliff, Colorado

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby flyingmagpie » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:50 pm

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.
"I've found the truest paths always lead through mountains." Kate Wolf, "An Unfinished Life"

User avatar
Posts: 632
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:56 am
Location: Western Kansas

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby kansas » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:57 pm

Good stuff, Greg. Thanks for posting it.
"In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams."
— Jon Krakauer

User avatar
Posts: 599
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:14 am
Location: Golden

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby madbuck » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:16 pm

Thanks for that, interesting follow-up 20 years(!) later, and interesting synthesis of knowledge from varied sources that led to the conclusion.

User avatar
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:01 am

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby aweygandt » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:00 pm

Whoa, very interesting!

User avatar
Posts: 995
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:36 pm
Location: Brighton, CO

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Greenhouseguy » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:04 pm

Definitely worth reading, if you're a fan of "Into the Wild."
"May your boulder be your blessing." - Aron Ralston

User avatar
Posts: 769
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:25 pm

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby TallGrass » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:50 am

Related story recently in the news, August 27, 2013:

"Before the body was found, David Croom told KXAS-TV in Phoenix that Johnathan had been talking to a friend about Into the Wild and had said "that it would be great to just leave penniless and just work along the way and get resources like they did in the movie." "
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/27/sheriff-missing-arizona-teen-found-dead-in-oregon/2705011/

"Hutson said earlier that text messages between Croom and a friend indicated Croom wanted to run away. Hutson said Croom also talked to his parents about Christopher McCandless, whose journey to Alaska was documented in the book Into the Wild. "
http://news.yahoo.com/sheriff-missing-arizona-teen-found-dead-oregon-032149023.html
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

User avatar
Posts: 1986
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: Here, Now

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Dex » Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:03 am

Thanks for posting that. I'd die very fast without a grocery store nearby.
Montani Semper Liberi
"Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous." Barry Ritholtz

User avatar
Posts: 787
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:12 am

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Hungry Jack » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:50 am

I understand the disgust with McCandless and his choices in life, but I recall being young once too and experiencing sturm and drang, and pursuing unusual activities to find meaning and truth. I accept what McCandless did without harsh judgment. It was torturous for his family, and he should have communicated with them rather than cutting them off as he did, but I think he eventually would have come to his senses. He is not the only kid to go that route at that point in life. Unfortunately, his path led him to his end before he was ever able to have those conversations.

I think Krakauer's assessment of McCandless is quite fair and balanced, though I think Krakauer's fascination with the extreme outdoor sports and willingness to embrace risks probably tilts him to be more accepting of McCandless' decisions.

The article basically sums up McCandless final acts as one of living with no margin for error, and he made an error that almost anyone else would have made. There are probably a handful of people on the planet who would have known then that those plants where horrifically toxic to someone in McCandless' malnourished condition.

It is a remarkable story of sleuthing and brings the chapter to a close.
I need more dehydrogenase.

User avatar
Posts: 1986
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: Here, Now

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Dex » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:15 am

Hungry Jack wrote:I understand the disgust with McCandless and his choices in life, but I recall being young once too and experiencing sturm and drang, and pursuing unusual activities to find meaning and truth. I accept what McCandless did without harsh judgment. It was torturous for his family, and he should have communicated with them rather than cutting them off as he did, but I think he eventually would have come to his senses. He is not the only kid to go that route at that point in life. Unfortunately, his path led him to his end before he was ever able to have those conversations.

I think Krakauer's assessment of McCandless is quite fair and balanced, though I think Krakauer's fascination with the extreme outdoor sports and willingness to embrace risks probably tilts him to be more accepting of McCandless' decisions.

The article basically sums up McCandless final acts as one of living with no margin for error, and he made an error that almost anyone else would have made. There are probably a handful of people on the planet who would have known then that those plants where horrifically toxic to someone in McCandless' malnourished condition.

It is a remarkable story of sleuthing and brings the chapter to a close.


I think what get me most about the McCandless story is ignoring the possibility of mental illness and how the romanticism of his story has inspired others to make similar mistakes. Why? Because there is money to be made from romance.

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/chris-mccandless-example-20-years-later
Abandon your family for no reason. Ditch your car in the desert. Burn or bury your money for reasons unclear. Stop bathing because it's too much trouble. There are people just like McCandless living on the streets of Anchorage today.


“Chris McCandless from an Alaska Park Ranger’s Perspective,”
http://nmge.gmu.edu/textandcommunity/2006/Peter_Christian_Response.pdf
Montani Semper Liberi
"Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous." Barry Ritholtz

User avatar
Posts: 787
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:12 am

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Hungry Jack » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:31 am

Great point Dex. In today's age of "modern" psychiatry, I have little doubt that McCandless would have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness, and prescribed drugs to treat it. But this type of behavior has been going on for centuries. As you note, it is just more popularized and sensationalized now through digital media.

I don't think McCandless had interest in fame, and I don't think Krakauer (or the vast majority of feature writers) is motivated by money, because writing is an awful way to make a living, especially a decent one.

You would have to be pretty far out on the spectrum to; 1) disown your family that by all appearances has raised you in a very safe and nurturing environment with opportunity (not everyone can go to Emory University); 2) take the type of physical risks McCandless embraced.

His acts and techniques during the final Alaska episode reveal his ignorance. But is it that much different than a tourists who ventures up Longs Peak with a late start, wearing jeans and a cotton shirt, in the midst of an active monsoon? The stakes were much higher for McCandless, but I am not sure ignorance is necessarily a sign of mental illness.

That ranger article basically concludes that McCandless willfully committed suicide. That is a HUGE leap to a powerful conclusion that lacks any real basis in fact. Was Evil Knieval suicidal because he tried to rocket himself across the gorge? Even the most willful acts of ignorance and negligence can be judged as suicidal without much more evidence of the person's true mental state. We do not know this about McCandless.

I am convinced he was seeking something in Alaska. But I don't think it was death.
I need more dehydrogenase.

Posts: 2051
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:19 pm

Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby peter303 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:36 am

This guy claims Krakeur got a lot of his facts wrong:
http://www.tifilms.com/wild/call_debunked.htm
I saw him and his film at the Denver International Film Festival a few years ago.

At least two young men disappeared this year after reading the book.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/us/into-the-wild-missing-teen/index.html
The idea of the book certainly appeals to a lot of us - just get away from it all.

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests