Into Thin Air

Rob Hall is a New Zealand-based mountaineer who acts as the leader of the expedition that takes Jon Krakauer to the summit of Mount Everest. He made a name for himself by becoming, along with his friend, the first person to climb the highest mountain in each of the seven continents, and parlayed his fame into a successful mountaineering tourist company. Hall takes expeditions of high-paying clients up and down Mount Everest, exercising extreme caution in doing so. He is known as a publicity-monger, but also a careful, cautious guide—in short, the last mountain climber one would expect to experience a catastrophic accident. Nevertheless, on the afternoon of May 10, 1996, a snowstorm hits Rob Hall’s expedition, ultimately killing Hall and several of his clients.

Rob Hall Quotes in Into Thin Air

The Into Thin Air quotes below are all either spoken by Rob Hall or refer to Rob Hall. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Into Thin Air published in 1999.
Chapter 3 Quotes

By this time Hall was a full-time professional climber. Like most of his peers, he sought funding from corporate sponsors to pay for his expensive Himalayan expeditions. And he was savvy enough to understand that the more attention he got from the news media, the easier it would be to coax corporations to open their checkbooks.

Related Characters: Jon Krakauer (speaker), Rob Hall
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Into Thin Air quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 5 Quotes

This was Doug's second shot at Everest with Hall. The year before, Rob had forced him and three other clients to turn back just 330 feet below the top because the hour was late and the summit ridge was buried beneath a mound of deep, unstable snow. "The summit looked sooooo close," Doug recalled with a painful laugh. "Believe me, there hasn't been a day since that I haven't thought about it." He'd been talked into returning this year by Hall, who felt sorry that Hansen had been denied the summit and had significantly discounted Hansen's fee to entice him to give it another try.

Related Characters: Jon Krakauer (speaker), Doug Hansen (speaker), Rob Hall
Related Symbols: Mount Everest
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 8 Quotes

They should have flown him out yesterday morning when they had a chance. If it had been one of Scott's clients who was this sick, instead of a Sherpa, I don't think he would have been treated so haphazardly.

Related Characters: Rob Hall (speaker), Scott Fischer, Ngawang Topchke
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 11 Quotes

"To turn around that close to the summit," Hall mused with a shake of his head on May 6 as Kropp plodded past Camp Two on his way down the mountain. "That showed incredibly good judgment on young Göran's part. I'm impressed—considerably more impressed, actually, than if he'd continued climbing and made the top."

Related Characters: Rob Hall (speaker), Göran Kropp
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 17 Quotes

Two full bottles were waiting for them at the South Summit; if Hall had known this he could have retrieved the gas fairly quickly and then climbed back up to give Hansen a fresh tank, But Andy Harris, still at the oxygen cache, in the throes of his hypoxic dementia, overheard these radio calls and broke in to tell Hall—incorrectly, just as he'd told Mike Groom and me—that all the bottles at the South Summit were empty,

Related Characters: Jon Krakauer (speaker), Rob Hall, Andy Harris
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

"I'm looking forward to making you completely better when you come home," said Arnold. "I just know you're going to be rescued. Don't feel that you're alone. I'm sending all my positive energy your way!"
Before signing off, Hall told his wife, "I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much."

Related Characters: Jon Krakauer (speaker), Rob Hall, Jan Arnold
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 21 Quotes

Before this year, however, Hall had had uncommonly good luck with the weather, and it might have skewed his judgment. "Season after season," confirmed David Breashears, who has been on more than a dozen Himalayan expeditions and has himself climbed Everest three times, "Rob had brilliant weather on summit day. He'd never been caught by a storm high on the mountain." In fact, the gale of May 10, though violent, was nothing extraordinary; it was a fairly typical Everest squall. If it had hit two hours later, it's likely that nobody would have died. Conversely, if it had arrived even one hour earlier, the storm could easily have killed eighteen or twenty climbers—me among them.

Related Characters: Jon Krakauer (speaker), David Breashears (speaker), Rob Hall
Page Number: 284-285
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Into Thin Air LitChart as a printable PDF.
Into thin air.pdf.medium

Rob Hall Character Timeline in Into Thin Air

The timeline below shows where the character Rob Hall appears in Into Thin Air. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
...there was now a place for him on an upcoming Everest expedition led by Rob Hall, he agreed to go without a second thought. (full context)
Chapter 3
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
...lands and he meets up with Andy Harris, one of the guides working for Rob Hall, the leader of the expedition. Harris and Krakauer then meet Lou Kasischke, a lawyer from... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...and the other mountaineers on the expedition go to a hotel, where they meet Rob Hall, whom Krakauer likes right away. Hall was born into a working-class New Zealand family, and... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Hall and Ball capitalized on their fame by founding a mountaineering company called Adventure Consultants. In... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...past, he’d only ever climbed solo, or with a friend or two. Krakauer hopes that Hall has “weeded out” clients who don’t have the drive to make it to the summit. (full context)
Chapter 4
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...to the clinic’s efforts, the mortality rate for Everest climbers has gone down considerably. Rob Hall has spent a lot of time speaking with clinic workers about potential accidents. He believes... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...inhaling acrid smoke. On April 7, Krakauer learns that Tenzing, a Sherpa herder working for Hall, has fallen and seriously injured himself, meaning that the expedition will be delayed a few... (full context)
Chapter 5
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
On April 8, Rob Hall learns that Tenzing has been rescued from his fall—he’s still alive. Meanwhile, some of the... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
...the Everest Base Camp, located 17,600 feet above sea level. At the base camp, Rob Hall crosses paths with another team leader, Scott Fischer. Hall and Fischer are friendly rivals in... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...pay the climbing permit and allow him to lead Krakauer. However, in the end, Rob Hall offered Outside a significantly better deal. While Krakauer was initially reluctant to switch from Fischer... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...sold T-shirts to help him. A year ago, Doug tried to climb Everest with Rob Hall, but had to turn back only a few hundred feet from the summit, due to... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...that his lack of experience with high altitude will prevent him from climbing Everest. But Hall assures him that he’ll be fine. (full context)
Chapter 6
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...to avoid getting crushed by a collapsing serac. Because the Icefall route is so dangerous, Hall and the other professional mountaineers have agreed that one designated team each year should be... (full context)
Chapter 7
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
The South Africans and the Taiwanese are frequent topics of discussion for Hall’s team. Hall suspects that “something bad” will happen that year, what with the large number... (full context)
Chapter 8
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...Ang Dorje has a reputation for being a strong climber, and he’s worked for Rob Hall for a few years. Krakauer spends time with Ang Dorje until midday, when the last... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...under his cap. He also notices a dead body wrapped in plastic sheeting, which Rob Hall later explains belonged to a Sherpa climber who died three years ago. At Camp Two,... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...determines that Ngawang has a bad case of pulmonary edema, a potentially fatal disease. Later, Hall suggests that, had the patient been a client, rather than a Sherpa guide, he wouldn’t... (full context)
Chapter 9
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...as the climb proceeds, he begins to lose feeling in his feet and fingers. Suddenly, Hall gives the order that everyone needs to turn back to Camp Two—there’s a dangerous storm. (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Back at Camp Two, there continues to be a lot of ill will between Rob Hall and the South African team. There are also rumors among the Sherpas that Ngawang Topchke... (full context)
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...large number of accomplished mountaineers on the Nepalese side of Everest in 1998, including Fischer, Hall, and Pete Schoening. However, there are four especially gifted climbers: Ed Viesturs (an American who’s... (full context)
Chapter 10
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...edge; however, he adds that he doubts Krakauer’s presence puts any extra pressure on Rob Hall. (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Rob Hall leads his team back to Base Camp; he plans to climb from Base Camp and... (full context)
Chapter 11
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...fear that he didn’t have enough energy to finish the climb safely. Kropp’s caution impressed Hall—most climbers would have pushed ahead rather than accepting their limitations. (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
On May 7, the team reaches Camp Two, and Hall declares a day of rest. Krakauer notices Fischer at Camp Two, looking irritable. Because he... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
On May 8, both Hall and Fischer’s teams leave Camp Two. During the climb, a boulder falls and hits Andy... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Both Hall and Fischer’s team arrive at Camp Three. Krakauer is the first to arrive, and while... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Hall’s team gathers together to breathe compressed oxygen—a practice that has long been a staple of... (full context)
Chapter 12
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Just after midnight, Hall’s team proceeds with the next stage of the climb. Fischer’s team is also climbing to... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
At the beginning of the expedition, Rob Hall gave his team a speech about the importance of obeying his directions on summit day.... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...frustrated that he can’t just continue with Fischer or the Taiwanese, but he understands why Hall wants him to wait. The most rewarding part of mountaineering, Krakauer has always felt, is... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
At 7:10 am, Krakauer sees Hall arriving at the Southeast Ridge, and Hall gives him the go-ahead to climb. Krakauer begins... (full context)
Chapter 13
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
On May 10, each person in Hall’s team carries a 6.6-pound oxygen bottle, and is supposed to pick up a spare after... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Hall expected that there would be Sherpas accompanying the team to the summit. However, it’s likely... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...leading up to the summit—around 5:30 am. Krakauer and Ang Dorje could install ropes, but Hall has ordered them to stay with the group; installing ropes would involve running ahead. Furthermore,... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...to climb up at the same time, and they all move very slowly. Another problem: Hall hasn’t officially announced a turn-around time—he’d suggested either 1 pm or 2 pm, but hasn’t... (full context)
Chapter 14
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...to the summit. Krakauer vaguely remembers seeing Lopsang and Sandy Pittman. He also sees Rob Hall, who seems disappointed that five of his eight clients haven’t made it to the summit. (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...either Harris or Boukreev (who are helping other clients). He asks Mike Groom, one of Hall’s guides, for permission to continue back to Camp Four on his own; Groom gives him... (full context)
Chapter 15
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...he’ll tell his clients to climb down, he never does; nor, it would seem, does Hall. Instead, the clients continue ascending. Sandy Pittman arrives at the top of Everest at 2:10,... (full context)
Chapter 16
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...Woodall to give the South African radio to Krakauer, so that Breshears can talk to Hall. Woodall refuses. (full context)
Chapter 17
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...afternoon of 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... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Hall follows Fischer down the summit. While climbing down, Hall notices Doug Hansen climbing up—even though... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
On the afternoon of May 10, a climber named Guy Cotter, a lifelong friend of Hall and Harris, is stationed at the Base Camp. Over the radio, he hears Hall desperately... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
After 5 am, Hall continues to climb down the mountain. He tries to breathe from his oxygen canister, but... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Around 9:30 am, Ang Dorje, the climbing sirdar, sets out with his assistant to rescue Hall. The rescue mission is extremely dangerous—Dorje is risking his own life by venturing out so... (full context)
Chapter 19
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...remaining team members about what to do. Taske is adamant about staying to search for Hall. Meanwhile, Beidleman assembles what’s left of Fischer’s clients and orders them to descend. Anatoli Boukreev... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Ironically, Krakauer notes, Rob Hall had been worried that one of the less competent teams would get in trouble, requiring... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...they stay longer, they’ll die of hypothermia. Ang Dorje is reluctant to descend without Rob Hall, his boss. However, Hutchinson persuades Ang to join the descending group: Krakauer, Fischbeck, Kasischke, and... (full context)
Chapter 21
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...casts a “long penumbra” over his existence. Several weeks later, Krakauer gets calls from Rob Hall’s wife, Jan Arnold, and Andy Harris’s partner, Fiona McPherson. Though Krakauer believes it’s his duty... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Out of all the expeditions climbing Everest in May of 1996, it’s amazing that Rob Hall’s was the one to suffer a catastrophe, since Hall was a notoriously careful guide. But... (full context)