What is the summary for Chapter 15 of Into the Wild?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After retreating back to base camp, Krakauer considered making another try up the mountain; although he really "didn't want to go up on the Thumb again at all...the thought of returning...in defeat wasn't very appealing".  He remembered his  father, with whom he had clashed continually during his youth.  Jon Krakauer's father set impossibly high expectations for his children, and was volatile and unyielding, but Jon "felt oppressed by the old man's expectations", and refused to follow the path set for him.  Later, he realized that, in growing up, he "had been selfish and unbending and a giant pain in the ass", but it was too late.  He and his father were never really reconciled. 

Jon's father had, if nothing else, instilled in his son "a burning ambition" to succeed, and so, despite his misgivings, Jon made one more attempt up the mountain and made it to the top. When he got back, however, he found that nobody cared and nothing had changed in his life.  Like McCandless, Krakauer attributes his obsession to do what he did partly to "the skewed relationship (he) had with (his) father", and partly to a youthful sense of invulnerability and a need to go "to the edge of doom and (peer) over the brink".  He believes this is very different from actually wanting to die, and that the fact that he survived his adventure and McCandless did not "was largely a matter of chance" (Chapter 15).