Into Thin Air

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Makalu Gau Character Analysis

The leader of the Taiwanese team, Makalu Gau is an enthusiastic but not tremendously talented mountaineer. In the months leading up to the Everest expedition, Gau is involved in a dangerous accident on the slopes of Mount McKinley; thus, when he leads his team to Everest, everyone is expecting his team to experience problems.
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Makalu Gau Character Timeline in Into Thin Air

The timeline below shows where the character Makalu Gau appears in Into Thin Air. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...one of the climbers died. The leader of the Taiwanese team, a man named Makalu Gau, made it to the summit, and when he was climbing down, he cried, “Victory!”, seemingly... (full context)
Chapter 11
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...rope. The next morning Chen’s condition begins to deteriorate—within a few hours, he’s dead. Makalu Gau learns of Chen’s death, but doesn’t show any emotion; instead, he orders his team to... (full context)
Chapter 17
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...May 10, Scott Fischer climbs to the summit of Everest, along with Rob Hall, Makalu Gau, and two Sherpas from the Taiwanese team. Fischer is exhausted, and complains about his poor... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...Fischer’s erratic behavior and tries to help him descend safely. Lopsang and Fischer encounter Makalu Gau, who is suffering from altitude sickness. Fischer tells Lopsang to keep descending, but Lopsang refuses;... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...hours, the three Sherpas find the incapacitated climbers that Lopsang was forced to abandon, including Gau and Fischer. Fischer is still alive, but he’s barely breathing; thus, the Sherpas make the... (full context)
Chapter 20
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...it’s slightly warmer. Around 3 pm, a team of Sherpas rushes the body of Makalu Gau—weak, but still alive—to Camp Two. David Breashears gives word that he and a few other... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...fly one passenger to the hospital, however. Everyone agrees that this passenger should be Makalu Gau, who’s severely frostbitten. Late in the day, another helicopter arrives from Kathmandu; this time, the... (full context)