Into the Wild Chapters 8 and 9
Opinions about Alex • Many Alaskans expressed strongly NEGATIVE opinions • Letters received by Krakauer: • “Alex is a nut…” • “Krakauer is a kook if he doesn’t think Chris ‘Alexander Supertramp’ McCandless was a kook.” • “His ignorance, which could have been cured by a USGS quadrant and a Boy Scout manual, is what killed him.”
Gene Rosellini • The Mayor of Hippie Cove (Cordova, Alaska) • Early history • Father was a Washington governor and mother was a restaurant owner • Great student, master of martial arts, good athlete, never graduated college • Adult life • Decided to try and live independent of technology • Wondered if he could live off the land like a caveman, or if humans had “evolved” too far • He believed that the current brand of human being was inferior to cavemen • Wanted to return to humans’ “natural state” • Determined that this was not possible (after 30 years) • Committed suicide
John Mallon Waterman • Early History • Son of a musician, writer, and mountain climber • Third-youngest person to climb Mt. McKinley • Adult Life • Went to University of Alaska • Seemed weird to the other students there • Mom and Dad split up; dad wouldn’t have anything to do with him • Brother took off and never was heard from again • Lost eight friends to climbing accidents
John Mallon Waterman (continued) • The Call to Adventure • Climbs 14,573 ft. Mt. Hunter alone—145 days solo • Three attempts to climb Mt. McKinley: 1) Got scared and backed out; 2) Cabin burned down and lost his things, checked himself into a psychiatric hospital; 3) Starts at sea-level, which adds 160 miles to the trek • Attempt #4: Crosses paths with two people who think he’s underprepared (no sleeping bag, little food) • Gave away his radio, saying, “I won’t be needing this anymore.” • Left a note that read, “3-13-81. My last kiss 1:42 PM” • Waterman was never seen again. Probably broke through some ice and fell into a crevasse.
Carl McCunn • Carl McCunn arranged to be dropped by plane in the Alaskan wilderness in March 1981 with supplies for the summer and 500 rolls of film. He planned to spend the season photographing wildlife. What he didn't plan, however, was his trip out again. He forgot to arrange for a plane to come and pick him up.
Carl McCunn (continued) • Flew into the country to take pictures of wildlife • Threw away most of his shotgun shells because he felt guilty for bringing so many • Flags down a plane, but it can’t land because it has wheels instead of floats. McCunn feels certain that they will send someone back to rescue him.
Carl McCunn (continued) • Without knowing it, McCunn had given the plane the sign of “All OK. No assistance needed.” • McCunn just assumed someone would realize he was gone and come save him. • He had a skewed sense of reality. He actually thought some beautiful woman would drop everything and go camping with him out in the Alaskan wild. • When he realized he was going to die of starvation, he shot himself.
Everett Ruess • 1934, 20 years old • Childhood • Dad was a minister, mom was a writer • Moved around a lot • Went to art school, began traveling outdoors at 16 • Decides he never want to return to civilization, wants to live out in the wild for the rest of his life
Everett Ruess (continued) • Adventures in Nature • Reckless while climbing on cliff faces • Stung by bees, unable to use hands or eyes for 3 days • Horrible reactions to poison ivy • Parallels to McCandless • Changed his name • Both loved the freedom of the outdoors • Both read a great deal of literature
Everett Ruess (continued) • Theories about death • A fall while scrambling on a canyon wall • Killed by cattle rustlers • Escaped and began a new life under a pseudonym • Stories about Ruess marrying a Navajo woman and raising a family • Ken Sleight—investigator and outdoorsman • Thinks Ruess drowned • Ruess liked to be alone, but he also liked to be around other people sometimes. He couldn’t have stayed hidden forever.
Papar—Irish Monks • Iceland, 500-600 AD • The Papar crossed the treacherous ocean in small, open boats. • Many died • Wanted to find isolation, peace, quiet, undisturbed land • They decided Iceland was too overpopulated, so they got back in their boats and rowed off to Greenland.