Many of the creature comforts supplied at Base Camp are intended to allay some of the climbers concerns. The time at Base Camp is instrumental to acclimatization—both in terms of altitude and in terms of the rigors associated with climbing the mountain. Staying at Base Camp is a way to ease into the process, and being able to communicate with family and friends via phone and fax affords some unlikely comfort early on.
Krakauer spends a great deal of time in this chapter praising the guide services for their commitment to keeping the mountain clean. Both Hall and Fischer were personally responsible for the removal of tons of garbage from Everest, and that commitment gives them credibility. Wanting the mountain to be kept in a pristine condition might at first seem to be at odds with escorting wealthy clients up the mountain, but it can be inferred that the guides—particularly Hall and Fischer—have a love for the mountain that is so genuine and so deep that they want others to experience the same thing.
Krakauer waits until this chapter to reveal his personal experiences and friendship with Fischer. Fischer was key in getting Krakauer the assignment to write on Everest in the first place, and in terms of exposition, one might expect that information to come at the very beginning of the book. Krakauer's decision to wait and reveal that personal connection later is interesting. Perhaps Krakauer doesn't want the reader thinking immediately that he got the job because of a connection, or perhaps he wants to introduce Hall, his expedition's guide, first. Or perhaps it is something that Krakauer doesn't think much about until he encounters Fischer at Base Camp.
Fischer's presence demonstrates something previously left without comment—luck. He has survived falls and scrapes and jams that probably would have killed other climbers. Krakauer describes him as amazing resilient, unflinching and unafraid. Fischer has dealt with and survived many of the deadly hurdles that accompany mountain climbing. He is living proof that it can be done—that it's possible to walk away from a mistake.
The reader gains another insight into the commercialism of this chapter, and that is Krakauer himself. Fischer wanted him to climb on his team, as did Hall. When Krakauer asks Hall why he made such a good offer, he explains that: "what was so enticing was the bounty of valuable advertising he would reap from the deal he struck with Outside." Krakauer himself isn't particularly valuable; what is valuable is having someone who is affiliated with Outside—a popular and lucrative adventure magazine—as a member of the expedition. In a sense Krakauer is a pawn in the advertising game. Although it works out to his adventure, it gives him and the reader some perspective on how so much can be translated into net worth.