Hazing News

BSU Into Thin Air

Ken Kamler talk

Students at Harvard: simulation

Jon Krakauer on stage

Study Guide for Discussion of “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer


All:  I hope the questions posted on the page helped you:



Just make notes for yourself.  No need to send me the answers.  I hope for a lively debate.


  • Why is the lead (first two grafs) more like a conclusion in an ordinary feature?
  • Hard question. Did the presence of journalist Jon Krakauer and the female journalist Sandy Pittman ultimately endanger other climbers?  How did Sherpa Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa violate his ethical duties by short roping Sandy Pittman to keep her going when she should have turned back?
  • What does Beck Weathers conceal that ultimately puts him into danger and slows the progress of his companions?
  • Rob Hall was the highly respected king of Everest group leaders. What led to his downfall and death?  How did his favoritism for one team member (Doug Hansen) turn into a catastrophe after he violated his own deadline?
  • How did the presence of so many ill-led expeditions put the climbers into jeopardy?
  • On deadline for Outside, Krakauer makes the reporting mistake of his life. (He acknowledges the error in his later book). He thought guide Andy Harris had fallen off the mountain in the storm. Instead, the guide died trying to save Rob Hall.
  • What was wrong with Scott Fischer’s guide Anatoli insisting on climbing without supplemental oxygen?
  • The most complex stories you will ever tell as a journalist involve scandals best termed as a fiasco. How could this tragedy have been prevented?
  • Discuss the ethics here: Climbers on  Everest have a good chance of dying.  In fact, the dead are seldom removed from Everest. They greet the climbers.  Is this a legitimate and ethical chance for climbers to take?

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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