Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Back to the Wild


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John S.
(jshann) - F
Back to the Wild on 06/21/2011 21:11:14 MDT Print View

His family is releasing a book tomorrow about his travels. A DVD will come out in July.

http://www.backtothewildbook.org/summary.html

"Christopher McCandless and his amazing story of self-discovery and exploration have touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

Christopher made and continues to make a profound impact on those who knew and loved him, as well as countless others who feel a strong connection to his story. “Back To The Wild: The Photographs And Writings Of Christopher McCandless” is a collection of over 270 photographs taken by Chris from 1990-1992. From his initial transcontinental drive across to Lake Mead from Atlanta, Georgia in 1990, until the culmination of his odyssey and his passing in the Alaskan wilderness in August 1992.

Chris was a true documentarian, and this book will chronicle that journey with photographs and writings. These writings include correspondence between Chris and Wayne Westerberg, Jan Burres, Russell Fritz and other friends whose lives he touched deeply, even for a short time. The photographs of his odyssey are taken by Chris and are a powerful work of art. They are visual symbols of a life lived passionately and courageously. Chris’s vision has at long last been brought to light for the world to see."

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Back to the Wild on 06/21/2011 21:38:18 MDT Print View

I don't understand why anyone would want to romanticize him. He died of stupidity.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Back to the Wild on 06/21/2011 21:54:39 MDT Print View

Thanks John. I found Jon Krakauer's book a compelling read.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Back to the Wild on 06/21/2011 22:12:54 MDT Print View

I thought the Krakauer book was great

The guy was pretty resourceful and almost made it, just that one mistake of eating that one plant

I would never want to do that, but it is an interesting story

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Back to the Wild on 06/21/2011 22:51:27 MDT Print View

"I don't understand why anyone would want to romanticize him. He died of stupidity."

Maybe. I couldn't figure out whether it was more from ignorance or arrogance.

--B.G.--

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
back to the wild on 06/22/2011 00:09:11 MDT Print View

Christopher McCandless should have learned how to swim! That's all I have to say and swam or read books on how to cross fast moving rivers. Christopher fear of water killed him all he had to do was walk up river about couple 100 yards from his hat marker and swam for the other shore he would have made it to the other side of the river.
Christopher would still be alive to tell his tale of survival so many outdoor people have done before him. Christopher journeys would not be famous and he would not have a movie made about his life.
But he could have been living a healthy normal happy life with a wild tale to tells his friends, kids and grandchildren.
Terry

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: back to the wild on 06/22/2011 07:23:45 MDT Print View

In the documentary "Call of the Wild", it was revealed that Chris' backpack had been found by someone other than SAR/investigators. In it was alot of stuff he was criticized for not having, including $300, lots of ID, and a road map. The documentary is very good, IMO.

In Chris' last note, he said he was injured. Some still debate whether his possible shoulder injury caused him to not swim the Teklanika.

If Chris was your family member, you'd probably want to remember him and share his pictures with the world since there has been so much attention to the story. Their charity in his name helps single mothers.

Alot of people identify with parts of his story/trip (maybe not all of it in his decision to strike out into the wild expecting to live off the land).

Edited by jshann on 06/22/2011 20:52:53 MDT.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
re: stupidity on 06/22/2011 18:09:47 MDT Print View

If you decide to scramble up a ridge to get to a peak that you know you CAN scramble to, which others have scrambled to, and there are certain-death falls on either side, you are taking a risk. If a rock breaks away under your foot and you fall to your death, well, it would appear that the risk equation has worked out against you this time. Did you fall because you're stupid? No. You knew what could happen. I find it unlikely that Chris wasn't conscious of the fact that starving, freezing, getting sick or being eaten by a bear, among other things, could result in his not coming back out of "the wild."

Sure, Chris could have been better prepared in a couple ways, and everyone who makes a risky scramble could test each and every rock by tapping it with a hammer as they ascend. They could even wear parachutes. No one does, so no one thinks it's stupid not to do so, even if people do die from time to time. That's a conventionalized risk. The risks Chris took were relatively unconventional. I feel this factors largely into the crowd of people who just can't help but denounce him as "stupid." Feel free to make your own decisions with your life, just as long as you're doing things the same way as the rest of us...

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: re: stupidity on 06/22/2011 18:21:10 MDT Print View

"Sure, Chris could have been better prepared in a couple ways, and everyone who makes a risky scramble could test each and every rock by tapping it with a hammer as they ascend. They could even wear parachutes. No one does, so no one thinks it's stupid not to do so, even if people do die from time to time. That's a conventionalized risk. The risks Chris took were relatively unconventional. I feel this factors largely into the crowd of people who just can't help but denounce him as "stupid." Feel free to make your own decisions with your life, just as long as you're doing things the same way as the rest of us..."

There are risks, and then there are RISKS. It appears to me that young Christopher chose the latter. I personally believe it is adventures like his that led to the creation of the Darwin Award. Does anyone know if he received one? He certainly seems deserving of recognition for his creative efforts to remove himself from the gene pool.

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
Re: Re: re: stupidity on 06/22/2011 18:55:56 MDT Print View

Stupid may be an inarticulate word choice. After all, we can’t assume he was unintelligent. Words like careless, reckless, unprepared, or willfully ignorant may be better descriptions. I feel bad that he died , and I sympathize with his family.

I don’t condone his behavior and I don’t think it should be glorified. I understand sometimes people don’t like their stations in life and “walk away from it all” but sadly, and too often, this is done out of cowardice or lack or resolve.

Thrill seekers will try to justify their behavior but they know the risks. I don’t feel too bad when someone dies in a skydiving accident. Knowing the risk and then doing it anyway does not justify a bad choice. Conversley, if someone dies getting hit by a bus while crossing the street, I feel it’s tragic.


*EDIT* I had to clarify my last sentence.

Edited by magillagorilla on 06/22/2011 21:23:34 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: stupidity on 06/22/2011 20:41:17 MDT Print View

I never got the sense that Chris was running away from anything, but much more, in his eyes, "toward" something. He was a romantic. No realist is ever going to be able to understand what drives a romantic, because romantics, by definition, don't base all their decisions on practical choices. He had a fanciful notion of what Alaska was all about, no doubt garnered from books read about trappers and gold prospectors and such. I don't think he was stupid at all, but I do think he was woefully ignorant... two years to prepare himself for a self-sufficient life in the wilderness? That's just not enough time, especially when you consider that only a tiny fraction of it was in Alaska itself. He just couldn't possibly have learned enough. (the way he handled that moose carcass was ample evidence of that. Even I, who have never hunted anything in my life, knew that trying to handle all that raw meat the way he did was going to bring the maggots and ruin his chances of having food) But to say that living alone in the wilderness (and there is debate about whether the place he died could be considered real wilderness) is a stupid and impossible thing... I have to very strongly disagree with that. There are plenty of people who have done just that. (ie: Richard Proenneke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Proenneke ••• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYJKd0rkKss ) Chris wanted that life. He just wasn't ready.

As to crossing the river, there was actually a haul cable further down the river where he could easily have crossed. He just didn't know about it. So ignorance, not stupidity.

Edited by butuki on 06/22/2011 20:44:34 MDT.

Jon Hamilton
(instantjp) - M
Re: Re: Back to the Wild on 06/22/2011 20:50:13 MDT Print View

"I don't understand why anyone would want to romanticize him. He died of stupidity."

Hardly.