What is the summary for Chapter 14 of Into the Wild?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Chris McCandless's death, there was "considerable speculation that the boy had been bent on suicide from the beginning" of his risky undertaking, but the author, Jon Krakauer, disputes these theories.  His own belief is that McCandless's death was "unplanned...a terrible accident", and he bases his conclusion on experiences of his own. 

As a youth, Krakauer, like McCandless, was "willful, self-absorbed, intermittently reckless, moody".  "Figures of male authority" aroused in him fierce and conflicting emotions, and "if something captured (his) undisciplined imagination", he pursued it with "a zeal bordering obsession".  Krakauer's passion was mountain climbing, and, in 1977, he "got it into (his) head" to climb Alaska's dreaded "Devil's Thumb", alone.  "Dimly aware that (he) might be getting in over his head", Krakauer precipitously quit his job and set out for the far north country.

To say that Krakauer's endeavor was harrowing would be an understatement.  His challenge forced him to struggle through a labyrinthine glacial ice fall in complete whiteout, and left him stranded for days at base camp with dwindling resources, waiting for an arranged airdrop of supplies delayed by inclement weather.  Surviving that, he continued up the mountain, even though he knew he was "mentally unprepared to commence the actual climb".  After a series of dangerous setbacks, he finally reached a point where he could find no passage over frosted slabs of rock.  He was forced to concede that the climb was over; "the only place to go was down" (Chapter 14).