Krakauer also begins to feel a sense of guilt and responsibility in having joined the trip as a journalist. He feels that people are so thoroughly exhausted and spent on the mountain that having someone write details about them is stressful. This feeling probably is heightened by his newfound respect for some of his teammates, and the knowledge that in previously recordings or entries he described them in ways that weren't entirely positive. Causing additional stress to the climbers, and particularly to Rob Hall, even though it was far from his intention, is a lingering source of guilt for Krakauer.

The night at Camp Three is difficult, and the prospect of spending additional nights there and at Camp Four must be daunting. Base Camp seems an easy place to be then, as compared to a few weeks before when the air there felt barely breathable. Now though, all of the climbers are in ragged physical shape, having lost weight and developed health problems along the way.

Severe health problems continue to occur around Krakauer and his group. In addition to Lopsang having to deal with Ngawang's deal, another member of Fischer's group develops a serious health problem, HACE, and must descend immediately. Each chapter someone gets ill, hurt or even dies. It is as if Everest picks off climbers like flies, and the odds of actually making it to the top seem to decrease as the expedition wears on.

Developing a plan for reaching the summit so as to avoid a traffic jam there on the same day initially seems as if it will prevent some future difficulties. Hall wants to summit on May 10, and other groups seem to respect that decision except the South African group, which is yet again unwilling to help anyone. It is unclear if Krakauer is vilifying Ian Woodall, but from the book his complete disregard for the other expeditions and for safety is incredible. Woodall's refusal to consider other expeditions only adds more stress to an already tense and difficult situation.