Timeline
Kathmandu
Kathmandu

  • Krakauer departs from San Fransisco, flies to Bangkok, and flies to Kathmandu, Nepal
  • March 29 - The Adventure Consultants (AC) group gathers in Kathmandu
  • March 31- The group is helicoptered to Lukla (9,200 ft)
  • Hike to Namche Bazar
  • April 3 - Arrives at Tengboche
  • April 6 - Arrive at the beginning of the Khumbu Glacier
  • April 7 - Tenzing (a sherpa) falls into a crevasse and is rescued the next day
  • April 8 - The Team arrives in the village Lobuje, Krakauer develops cough.
  • April 9 - The Team arrives at base camp
  • April 12 - Krakauer's birthday
  • April 13 - First excursion to camp 1
  • April 19 - Camp 2 reached
  • April 25 - Guide ropes fixed on the South Col
  • April 28 - Camp 3 reached
  • May 1 - Descends to base camp to rest for the summit push
  • May 8 - Group begins summit push
  • May 9 - Taiwanese climber dies and AC group reaches camp 4.
  • May 10 - Summit reached and storm hits, many are stranded and die.
  • May 11 - Hall dies

Krakauer was a climber with limited high-altitude experience. His highest climbs were not even as high as Everest's base camp. Although initially reluctant to climb Everest, he was lured there by the security promised by Rob Hall and Scott Fischer. Krakauer was also nervous about his teammates; he speculated that they were unfit for such an expedition.
Helicopoter similar to that used by Adventure Consultants
Helicopoter similar to that used by Adventure Consultants

Many of his companions were into their fifties and one woman (Yasuko Namba) set a record as the oldest women to climb the mountain, she was 47 and died in the storm. Capable guides, sherpas, and bottled oxygen, have allowed climbers of marginal skill to attempt the world's highest peek. Yet Krakauer soon learned many of his co-climber were indeed competent and he bonded with Doug Hansen, a postal worker who also died on the mountain.

To acclimate the climbers to the altitude, a series of excursions are taken to increasingly high camps. There are four camps beneath the summit, each about 2,000 vertical feet apart. The climbers must complete Hall's system of acclimation to be ready to push for the summit.

On the team's trip to base camp the climbers stopped at Lobuje. It was at this village where Krakauer developed a cough which became so severe that it tore his thoracic cartilage. This cough did not incapacitate him, but it became a constant source of pain and discomfort. One time at base camp Krakauer developed a crippling migraine. Luckily it subsided with medication and did not reoccur. Many other climbers developed serious ailments on the trip including frostbite, migraines (brought on by the altitude), HACE, nausea, and many others.
Everest base camp
Everest base camp
Such conditions further add to the danger of climbing the mountain.

The perils on Everest are numerous and ubiquitous. This disaster proves that even the most trained, experienced, and skilled climbers are not immune from the fury of the mountain. The high-altitude, freezing temperatures, and biting winds can mutilate flesh, cause edemas, and kill. Krakauer noted that as he climbed higher his mental capabilities were constantly dulled by the lack of oxygen. Krakauer likens his mental state to that of a slow child, despite supplementary oxygen. Under such intense circumstances small mistakes are greatly exacerbated and logical reasoning is out of reach. Luck, also, is one of the key factors when determining life or death at 29,000 feet. Many have died falling off a cliff or slipping into a crevasse. Krakauer saw a Sherpa struck brutally on the head by a dislodged rock. The man survived but Krakauer was shocked by the horrible chance incident.