Talk:Christopher McCandless

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further citation[edit]

Fishfishf (talk) 15:42, 26 September 2009 (UTC) I'm a really greenhorn on wikipedia, but i want to give a reference for the sentence in the article "There was a hand-operated tram that crossed the river 1/4 of a mile away from where he fell in.[citation needed]". There seems to be a source needed Actually one can finde it here:

That link is dead now. Here is a link to it on the Internet Archive. --Chris Murphy (talk) 04:52, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Theories on McCandless' Death[edit]

The article seems to make no mention of what previous posters have mentioned - that it is suspected that Chris was killed by the Indian Potato seeds, not lack of skill in hunting or incompetence. The theories regarding Chris' death were sort of tenuous but Krakauer mentioned them in his book - I wonder why the author of this article didn't include these theories? It seems to me they're important to establishing Chris as not totally incompetent and reckless. - Vyxx 23 May 2006

Perhaps those theories were omitted because there is zero (rad none, nill, zip, zilch, squat) evidence for them. Suggesting they be included, why not also include the theory that he was targetted by hostile aliens? All of the available scientific evidence is that the boy starved, because he was a semi-competent loon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

wow, talk about objective and unbiased factual focus . . . i would argue that krakauer has a few "loon"ish tendencies himself, but the new version of his book proposes a cause related to poisoning which has taken into consideration the scientific studies that have been done since the first version's publication. i see no reason why acknowledging this thesis is any worse than publishing something like "he was a semi-competent loon" - even if i wholeheartedly agree with that assessment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dcteach (talkcontribs) 19:46, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

You will notice that I did not "publish" that he was a semi-competent loon, no matter how much the facts support that reading of Mr. Mccandles' death. I carefully kept that editorial comment here, in the discussion page. Acknowledging Krakauer's "thesis," however, is just as scientifically supported as supporting the "thesis" that Mccandles was the target of an international conspiracy of the illuminati, i.e., there is no such evidence, ie, it is crackpot material. It doesn't belong in a supposedly factual account. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:25, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate your concern - and you're right, I was out of line in criticizing the "semi-competent loon" line. That IS what the discussion page is for. That said, I stand by the argument that there's room for more than "he simply starved" as explanations for Chris's death. Chris McCandless's current popularity is partially a result of the lack of answers we have about his actual death, and a thorough encyclopedia would be remiss in not acknowledging that. Furthermore, as much as I disagree with Krakauer's opinion, the guy has studied Chris longer and in more depth than anyone else, and therefore his - and Chris's own - explanations, as captured in the book (which is itself arguably the best resource available about McCandless, even with Krakauer's bias), SHOULD be mentioned. I have no problem with these explanations being questioned or even dismissed after being mentioned, but the proof by which they've been dismissed should be similarly included.Dcteach (talk) 15:23, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough, and I hope the current rev. does that. I wouldnote that being the biggest source or authority or studier of some phenomenon doesn't necessarily mean one's opinions are valid. After all, Velikofsky is the biggest authority there is on the collision of Saturn with the Earth, right? :) (talk) 14:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

In the edition of "Into The Wild" published after the movie release, Krakauer pinpoints a very plausible theory for McCandless's death, being not the wild potato seeds, but the toxic mold that grows on the seeds. It's apparently widely responsible for many animal deaths, and is known to poison the subject by inhibiting the correct digestion process, causing inevitable starvation, regardless of subsequent food consumption, providing that the subject is already undernourished. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:33, 13 February 2009 (UTC)


Why the hell do we need "theories"? The guy weighed 67 pounds at death for Gods sake. I suggest that people with alternative "theories" mostly have an axe to grind. Usually a financial one. Krakauer's and McCandless own opinions are worthless. Krakauer has a financial interest in glorifying this poor misguided kid and one could hardly expect McCandless to leave as his final testament: "What an idiot I've been!" This kid's ego got way out in front of his ability as often happens to the young. But Alaska is a particuarly unforgiving place for youthful mistakes. Blame his liberal education which made him an expert on apartheid but never taught him what it takes to stay alive. Unfortunately Vyxx, McCandless was "totally incompetent and reckless". Idealizing this poor young man and the reasons he died only encourages other people's dangerous stupidity. (talk) 05:50, 6 February 2008 (UTC)dwargo

lol! That's funny! Blame his "liberal" education for making him an "expert on apartheid" but never teaching him what it takes to survive in the Alaskan wilderness! A liberal boogie man behind every bush, eh? Yeah, all kids in the lower 48 should be taught how to make moose jerky in case they ever decide to traipse off into the permafrost. Meanwhile, all study of apartheid should be summarily cut, unless it casts the system in a positive light. What American schools need are less Alan Paton and more Grizzly Adams. This article is no place to plug your conspiracy theories re: the liberal boogie man. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:54, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

It is somewhat unfair to say that McCandless was "totally incompetent and reckless". If I remember correctly (from Into the Wild), he studied maps of Alaska, sought advice on hunting, and carried an encyclopedia of edible wild plants. Characterizing him as "perilously arrogant" would be more accurate.Tollins2 (talk) 11:07, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

From my understanding he had no maps of the location and he sought advice from hunters from the dakota's, not Alaska where it probably would have actually helped him. (talk) 08:01, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Stupid, tragic and inconsiderate? Committing suicide? These are things of Chris by the Alaskan park ranger. When people say that he should have been sensible, he should have researched life in the wild and and taken with him the necessary supplies, I think that they are disregarding the whole nature of Chris and his reason for escape. His whole point was in rejecting society and it's aids, and seeing if he couldn't figure out a way of life for himself, with as little help as possible. 30 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I would just like to point out that McCandless' body weighed 67 lbs several weeks after his death. I'm not a Doctor, but I would imagine that the body dehydrates to a greater or lesser extent after expiration. I disagree that McCandless' own diary entry attributing dizziness and nausea to ingesting potato seeds should be considered absolutely irrelevant. I think that his own assessment of the cause of illness should be given consideration regardless of your opinion of either his mental state or his competence. The official cause of death was ruled starvation, which the article reflects, but discussion of "theories" is not beyond the scope of the article. That being said, I believe that the section stating the "some" Alaskans are "critical" of him should be changed to "most" or "many." I'm not going to change anything for now, until perchance in time, everyone ceases to be an expert on this story based on limited sources. Erin0027 (talk) 07:29, 20 June 2008 (UTC)Erin0027

The first paragraph in this subsection should be stricken from the record, as it is largely subjective, and the result of someone's personal agenda. It has no place on Wikipedia-- The author should consider using YouTube or MySpace as an alternative for posting his/her negativity. and i get mad when people prove me wrong. (talk) 02:46, 13 February 2009 (UTC)pcar

people should do some actual research before they jump in with an opinion. Krakauer left a lot of information out of the book, such as the fact that McCandless did indeed have map and multiple sources of identification. it wasn't wild potato seeds; these are not poisonous. as for his other desperate pet theory, its based on his observation of a picture. McCandless used a plastic bag to store some fresh plants and from there krakauer believes that moisture was also locked in, causing mold. not just any mold, but for some reason a rare and poisonous mold which inhibited him from digesting food properly. same result as his first idea. how original. there is no proof for this at all, just a picture of a bag (which was probably just left open anyways). he was just a guy looking for truth and meaning until he meet a tragic end. Krakauer romanticized the whole ordeal and profited from it. here is a good link for you guys.


This page is very poorly written. I believe it needs to be completely rewritten (at least the Childhood and Education/Travels sections).

Grammar and spelling errors abound. This page is truly a mess.

I hope this rewrite will be OK with readers. /s/ Bigturtle aka Bigturtle 16:31, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Chris did not have anything about freinds. He just wished to leave the suburbs and Live on his own and by his own for a while. He did contact them several times, and arrenged meetings even. He had no problems hunting: the lack of sugar killed him. The reason no one knew that the seeds of the potatoe are toxic is because they are just flushed out of your system with sugar, but chris had been living on mostly meat. No sugar.

But mate the body does not need sugar. Only very very recently has it entered into our diet and is completely unnecessary. Our bodies can make glucose/glycogen out of pretty much anything edible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by PowerSam (talkcontribs) 04:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

That is correct. Bruiseviolet, you seem to be talking about refined sugar. The body needs carbohydrate, but this can be drawn from a vast variety of foods including wild vegetation.

It still does need re-writing, it reads like a Sunday magazine article with sentences such as "he had a large quantity of ammunition." By whose standards? (I'm not trying to be rude about the person who wrote this, just to point out what I mean) Bruiseviolet (talk) 03:59, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Pre-Alaskan travels?[edit]

There is a very large portion of time missing from this article. It makes no mention whatsoever of Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, or anywhere else he visited.

If you have info, with sources of course, then by all means you can add it...but please bear in mind that this person is of very minor signifigance; ie expecting anyone else to research his life may be untenable. Engr105th (talk) 08:47, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Elk or moose?[edit]

There seems to be some conflict in the sources here. Chris thought it was a moose. Wachholder0 15:57, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

There are no elk the area in question. The closest thing to a elk in this region would be a caribou, but local accounts say it was a moose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
According to Into the Wild, two experienced hunters identified the remains of the animal as a caribou. Krakauer reported this in his original article for Outside, and Chris's "misidentification" of the animal was widely cited as an example of his incompetence. However, in IttW, Krakauer says the remains were later found "beyond all doubt" to be from a moose. -- Scott e 20:46, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps something to this effect should be added to the article. Today, the article claimed that some disputed that the animal was indeed a moose, but it was. It appeared as an unsupported assertion and thus I removed the sentence. It would be swell if someone more familiar with the controversy could add something sensible. Phiwum 18:16, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I agree w/ Scott. It was Butch Killian and the other moose hunters who discovered McCandless's body in September 1992 who claimed it was a caribou. McCandless said it was a moose in his journal and this was confirmed by Krakauer in the book after he visited the site in '93. Not only did Krakauer correct what he said in the Outside piece, but, by implication, basically said the veteran AK moose guys were wrong so the sentence here shouldn't imply a mistake on McCandless's part. I'm going to fix that sentence. (This was probably written this way bc the magazine article is on-line, but the book isn't.)

I know it doesn't really count, but who is more likely to be right about the species, a demonstrably incompetent kid and a novelist, or an experienced bunch of hunters... —Preceding unsigned comment added by PowerSam (talkcontribs) 04:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

You are right unsigned, it doesn't count because those experienced Alaskan hunters who knew so much were absolutely, positively proven wrong. McCandless took photos of the moose he killed including one with he himself holding the head. Some of these photos can be found online. (talk) 06:57, 5 August 2008 (UTC) Rich

The photographic evidence seems to suggest that he killed both a moose and a caribou. Marshaul (talk) 06:49, 28 April 2011 (UTC)


Who took the picture of Chris alive on Stampede Trail? Did he have his own camera and took it himself? just curious, if you can help me out... Lue3378 12:37, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes; I believe Into the Wild says he took the photo himself. -SCEhardT 13:35, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Chris romantisized being in the wilderness alone? I have never heard reference to him even being afraid of what he was proposing to do. I have spent the last 20 years of my life chasing that romance with mother nature, alone. I have felt much the same as Chris did but for one major difference. I was intimidated enough by her power to do in-depth and prolonged research into where I proposed to go. In my opinion Chris died of two things. Arrogance&Ignorance. God have mercy on his soul. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:56, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

I was just wondering, but is there any information about the other pictures on the roll of undeveloped film which his self portrait was found on? It seems strange that that would be the only picture taken, after carrying a camera the entire trip. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:56, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

$24,000 in "savings"?[edit]

I know this isn't the right place to discuss, but how does anyone graduate from college with $24,000 in "life savings"? I presume his parents paid full freight, and he got no financial aide?!

Since the 80s, when Chris enrolled, tuition hikes have far outpaced inflation. I have no information about Chris's specific circumstances, but it used to be fairly easy to put yourself through many colleges by working full-time in the summer and part-time during the school year. Patrick Fitzgerald put himself through Amherst by working as a janitor and doorman.[1] Therefore if Chris worked a lot and got some help from his family, it would be fairly easy for him to leave school with money in the bank, especially since he seems to have been a rather thrifty fellow.Wachholder 18:07, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
According to Krakauer:
"The final two years of [Chris's] college education had been paid for with a forty-thousand-dollar bequest left by a friend of the family's; more than twenty-four thousand dollars remained at the time of Chris's graduation, money his parents thought he intended to use for law school" (Into the Wild, 20). Dcteach 20:13, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, here's my take on it. Chris McC was from an affluent family...and lets face it, these are the sources of many...uhm..."wanderers" (hippies, back-to-nature-types, etc; and I mean no disrespect but there is an American phenomenon of these). Here is the quote from his "Childhood" paragraph from this Wiki article:
"McCandless grew up in Annandale, Virginia, located in affluent Fairfax County. His father, Walt McCandless, worked for NASA as an antenna specialist. His mother, Wilhelmina "Billie" Johnson, was his father's secretary and later helped Walt establish and run a successful consulting company ". The boldface is my addition.
...Point is, Chris McC was not in need of a job, nor was he driven to pull himself out of some sort of poverty situation. He could spend some time wandering at will, and as has happened to other priveleged youth, he could wander blindly into danger never thinking it would be his end... That $24K was probably an aside to him Engr105th (talk) 09:03, 26 March 2008 (UTC)



McCandless successfully (and illegally) poached some small game

Isn't poaching by definition illegal? Can you legally poach? --Stéphane Charette 16:32, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

An egg, yes. An animal, no, by definition as you suggested. -- Atamasama 22:47, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Date of Death[edit]

The date of death listed in the Infobox, is that of when his body was discovered. Should this be changed to the more general 'August 1992' given in the main body of the article? Dutpar 16:10, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to amend this (as best I can within the confines of Infobox formatting), but please feel free to revert if anyone disagrees. Dutpar 17:11, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't claim to know a whole lot about his death...but in the film about his travels (Into the Wild), it listed his death as August 18, 1992. Could this date be an estimation made official just for the sake of having a date? And if so, maybe it should be listed as his date of death.-- (talk) 04:37, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
A film based on his life is not a reliable source. --Omarcheeseboro (talk) 04:40, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

"Cultural Legacy" or unabashed promotion?[edit]

The cultural legacy section seems to go rather overboard, quoting favorable reviews of the book and movie (and not unfavorable reviews?). Seems to me that none of this is appropriate in an encyclopedia article. We can say a movie and book were made. We can say that they did well at the box office and perhaps even that they were well-received by critics if we can find a source saying so. But Wikipedia is not out to promote the movie, book or person. I suggest trimming that aspect of the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Phiwum (talkcontribs) 22:16, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Some IP editor keeps adding unrefed non-NPOV material. Just take it out when you see it. Wachholder 03:21, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Promotion of books, movies, and TV shows yes but what I find even more irresponsible is the promotion of unsafe behavior that may also put others life at risk i.e. rescuers who go out to search for someone like SuperTramp (idiot) when their parents are left not knowing where their child is. I think maybe the article should have "Also See" links to survival or bush skills that are required for a successful outcome like SuperTramp. I'll admit I walked out of the movie so I am no unbias. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:41, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Just plain nonsense about box office[edit]

I removed an uncited claim that there have been "sustained sold-out" theatres across the US. I found no evidence of exceptional box office performance (see, e.g., [2]). This claim seems to have come out of thin air.

What about critical acclaim? I haven't seen any cite that claims there has been widespread critical acclaim, but maybe there's a case to be made. NOTE: A proper reference would be some reliable source claiming that there has been critical acclaim, not one or two positive reviews! Phiwum 15:06, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Possibility of Mental Illness[edit]

I see the point in removing potentially unreliable info about McCandless' mental state, but there's a place for speculation on that front, as much as there's a place for the argument that "he was just stupid" or that "he was poisoned." Dcteach 18:03, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Please leave my comment as is - and free of offensive racial epithets. If you disagree, post your own comment to be considered by the community.Dcteach (talk) 15:13, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Factual errors[edit] according to this article, of the possessions released to his family, one included a "map". It is continually claimed that he didn't have a map and that was the cause of his demise, so for clarity wouldn't it be pertinent to mention that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

He didn't have a topographic map. Mr.K. (talk) 00:48, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
The article currently claims that he had left his (non-topographic) road map on the dashboard of Gallien's truck. So did he have any map at all? I agree that the source above should be considered as well. --Brindt (talk) 13:09, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
Topographic map? As a recently departed Alaskan resident (some 20 years after this event) I can assure you that topo maps are NOT easy to come by in Alaska without considerable spending. A normal bush map is not topo, please refrain from basing responses on such assumptions. It kills me that people are so keen to keep inserting that 'missing-map' concept into this history - I had a topo of that area and no such location was annotated on it. Yes, he was a foolish idealist that died because of his own naiveté, but its not doing the article reader any good to present this in a light that 'simple mistakes' could have prevented the outcome. NPOV would be best, and that doesnt seem to be the case.

Chris as a College Republican[edit]

I added Chris to the College Republican category. I couldn't find a place to include this in the text of the article, so I thought the category would do. By the way, this isn't a political thing. Yes, I know a lot of his philosophy contradicted lots of Republican philosophies, but he really was a member of the CRs. See page 123 of Into The Wild. "At Emory, he went so far as to co-found a College Republican Club." --RedShiftPA (talk) 02:41, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

What a dick. Magmagoblin (talk) 02:58, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Is there any other source other than Into the Wild that can support this claim? (talk) 08:19, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

this is a true story you should wtch the movie@!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:58, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I would posit that his ideas were to the right of conservative thought, as we think of it today in America.Steven (talk) 13:23, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Really you should watch the movie it will make you cry!!

I just got done watching the movie and don't recall seeing anything in it about him being a College Republican.Tom Cod (talk) 01:11, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
the movie is a fictionalized portrayal of the story, and not a reliable source. the book is more reliable. Anastrophe (talk) 01:36, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Are people really this fucking stupid these days?

Watch the movie "The Call of the Wild". Ron shows example of McCandless as a CR and photos too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:27, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

See Also Section removed ??[edit]

I recall this article having a link to the other people mentioned in the book such as Carl McCunn. I looked at the history and someone deleted them because they thought these individuals had only a slight resemblance to Chris. Personally I think this is fairly inaccurate considering they were the subject of at least one chapter of the book each. Surely if the author thought they were relevant, they actually were.

Further, I think for an individual interested in Chris' story, the others provide a perspective to which Chris can be compared.

I would like to see the See Also section reinstated. What does everyone think? vlado4 (talk) 19:57, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Restored it. What I see is that it was overwritten here; new text removed as POV without attribution here. --Van helsing (talk) 07:44, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Cultural Legacy[edit]

The "Cultural Legacy" section refers to the suggestion that McCandless effectively committed suicide, and that "some may argue that this is what he wanted all along, given his troubled past." It is not clear what is meant by "troubled past" and the rest of the article does not elucidate this. Either the article should have a sentence or two about this troubled past (ie., did his parents actually have marital problems as suggested in the film? Was he just disillusioned with materialism?) or the whole suggestion of the "troubled past" should be removed. After all, it is groundless speculation about state of mind, not in the same league as reasonable speculation about cause of death. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:23, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

There are two mentions of the tram 1/4 down the river in this article. It might be a good idea to reorganize this part so there are no repeats. Persiancowboy 08:51, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Since I am new to editing Wikipedia, I'm not certain if this belongs in this section or on the "Into The Wild" page or anywhere at all, but isn't it somehwat commonly assumed that the Arcade Fire song "Laika(Neighborhood #2) is also in part about McCandless? The wiki page for that song makes no mention of it. Would that page have to be changed and linked here or the other way around if it could be shown that was the case? Or is that too speculative? Thanks.Ghostlife17 (talk) 21:49, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

The actual bus in film?[edit]

I assume it is, but I didn't see anything confirming that the movie was shot at the actual bus Christopher stayed in. Is it so? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:21, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Presumably, if they had filmed it at the site, they would have advertised this fact. Seems pretty darned unlikely that it was filmed on-site. Phiwum (talk) 13:26, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

From "Penn decided to shoot the Alaska scenes 50 miles south of where McCandless actually died, in the tiny town of Cantwell, where the landscape conformed more readily to the Hollywood vision of the Last Frontier.[...] Filming at the bus was too remote for the technical demands of a movie shoot; the Alaska Range lies low and distant on the horizon. Cantwell, by contrast, is right next to the buttress of mountains that form Denali's foothills. It's a picture-perfect vision of the Alaskan wilderness — a stark contrast from the grim, swampy, mosquito-swarmed site of McCandless's death." (talk) 10:52, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Discrepency in death weight[edit]

In this article it states his weight at death as 67 pounds, but in the Into_the_wild summary it is stated his weighed 72 pounds. Which one is it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:45, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Old revisions agree on 67 pounds. Into the Wild's number was modified by this edit in August 2008. Flatscan (talk) 04:11, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

two see wat i see you must enter the dark , before you reach the life(light)[edit]

christoper mccandles- alex what ever he perfered to be call is yet scene but what he did is something many will decide is pig head, ungrateful ,unpleasant, no respect for his own life but yet thats all true and false he didi what he had too for his self he could of become an mudere or theifed ,many things worst but most of all he did wat many at his age could not ,i'm younger many years yonger then chris and with all do respect i say fuck them all he's a man and had the right to wanna find him self or just fill in an empty part of the world with love and life, beacuse there is more then one way to love and live he just pick the one no one had the gusts to choose and he did it with ups and donws , sometimes smiles

You seem smart. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:35, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

thats humorous that you would post this from a computer at the University of Virginia. Not that you tried faking the illiteracy of a commentator, but that you are, yourself, unknowledgable on simple IP lookups.... and thought you were cool for doing it.


It seems as though everyone is chopping down trees in order to understand why the forest exists. So much is lost in translation when we begin to rip apart a single moment in history that we forget what we were doing in the first place. I would suggest that further editors or authors in this topic focus not on his life, but how he was living it. So little was said about his motivations that I wonder if our legacies are all doomed to a stale fate of factual data reproduction and the soulless analysis that follows. Even ten thousand words will be a shallow representation if you don't know why you're writing them in the first place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Peacemonkey01 (talkcontribs) 06:55, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Picture of his "Thank God" message[edit]

I've found a picture of his message that says "I've lived a good life", and whatever else is on there.

Should I put it on there? Kinda trivial, but still curious.

--Colonel Valh ala-112 US-O6 insignia.svg 04:33, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Was his death noble? Did he die in pursuit of something important to him, and him alone? Did he seek all this attention, or did he seek an adventure that simply didn't work out? Who are we to judge? Especially given how little we know.

Brian McCandless —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:32, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

No, yes, and the latter. And why people consider him some kind of leading light is a mystery to me. But anyway... do we need to include facts about similar naive souls that underestimate the wilderness based on Chris' travels? Like this one ? (talk) 01:16, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Can we merge/reference this with "Darwinism"?[edit]

I can think of no better example. (talk) 19:49, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Very funny. I suppose Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer thought it was so simple.. no wonder they created a book and film --CutOffTies (talk) 19:53, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

itinerant vs hobo[edit]

In the past week, an IP (with different addresses) keeps on changing itinerant to hobo in the lead (example: [3]. I've left edit summaries asking the IP to go to the talk page to discuss, and also added hidden comments, but the changes keep on occurring with no discussion. I want to avoid wp:3RR.

I believe itinerant is a better description. Hobo:

  • is an old fashioned term. see definition here
  • in the hobo article, it says they are often penniless. McCandless did not have much money for a part of his life, but it would be a stretch to say he had no money.
  • again, in the hobo article, there is a close association with the railroad. See the history section. McCandless has nothing to do with hopping railroads.

Itinerant is a more general term that I believe fits better here. It was the term that was here before. Thank you

--CutOffTies (talk) 21:46, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

July 13, 2011 : Discrepancy in Time Body Found[edit]

In the text of the article, it states that Chris's body was discovered FOUR MONTHS after his time of death in August. But in the column underneath his picture it states Time of death : August .... whatever .... and then Time body discovered, September (whatever, ..... just four WEEKS the text and the biographical column to the right do not match.

Thank you for looking into this and hopefully correcting it.

Lisa G. Averill July 13, 2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I think you may be misreading it - it says his body was discovered four months after he entered the wilderness, not after his death. --CutOffTies (talk) 02:39, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Why The Ferocious Abuse of This Gentle Soul?[edit]

I'm taken aback by the malice and rush to judgment of many of these posts. Why do so many Commenters feel personally outraged at McCandless's idealistic quest? Why do they malign him as arrogant, stupid, a dangerous fool? There is nothing in his journals, or in the accounts of his friends, that suggest he ever had a malicious thought toward anyone. He had no intention of hurting anyone. He was not a villain or fool. He was something far more tragic: he was an innocent. He was searching for a quiet spot to meditate. He thought of it as a retreat. He hit on the Alaska bush, decided that the beginning of Spring (April) would be a safe time to trek in, and believed (mistakenly) that there would be sufficient game to sustain him for a couple months. He actually managed to stay alive, almost entirely through his hunting, for three months. This is a remarkable achievement, given that this area was not a wonderland of wild game. By the time the scant supply of meat was exhausted, and he finally got it through his head that he might starve--and yes, he could be a stubborn pigheaded kid--he was too weak to hike out. Much has been made of the relative closeness of humans, living within several miles, who might have helped him. He did not know of their existence.

With a slightly different scenario--for example, that McCandless would have discovered the hand-operated tram that could have taken him over the swollen river, or been found in time by hunters--he could have lived, thrived, and grown up. He might have looked back on those months as a wild adventure of his youth which he was lucky to have survived. And none of us would ever have heard of him.

Anyone who reads his journal will be struck by his gentle, questing spirit. It is a true tragedy--and yet evidence that he never stopped trying to understand our baffling human existence--that in the end he admitted to himself that all of his solitary wandering had not given him the peace he wanted. "The only true happiness is shared." Younggoldchip (talk) 17:46, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Because he WAS an arrogant stupid dangerous fool. He was too ARROGANT to bother with collecting information from locals. Too STUPID to figure out the consequences of his actions. And even if we ignore the possibility that he was the vandal who trashed the survival cabins and supplies in the area --- he placed the unwanted and unnecessary responsibility on others to haul his rotting carcass out.
The world is a better place with him gone. Stupid SHOULD hurt. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:58, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Do you carefully read other people's posts, and think about them? I do. Your comment is full of hatred and malice for this idealistic kid whom you never met. No wonder you didn't sign it. Younggoldchip (talk) 20:11, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Pot meets kettle.
McCandless was an arrogant stupid dangerous fool. Whitewash it all you like with meaningless noise about "idealistic kids" the simple truth remains that McCandless is dead because McCandless was too arrogant to listen to those who lived in the area, and too stupid to figure out a way to escape the circumstance he had placed himself in. And he left the mess for other people to clean up.
It could at least be hoped that others would have learned from his arrogant stupidity, but it's clear that there are still others of that mindset who think there was something noble, something "idealistic," about reckless irresponsibility. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:16, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Hmm. I see that you still don't sign your posts. What a surprise. Maybe you dimly understand that expressing vicious glee over someone else's death doesn't do you any credit. Just the opposite, in fact. I'd agree that "Stupid should hurt," but maybe not to the extent of a long-drawn-out, agonized death. You can babble on forever about the foolish chances McCandless took, but nothing changes two facts: everyone who met this kid liked him. Many went out of their way to help him. They describe him as a good-hearted kid, a worthwhile person. They knew him, you didn't. And if "Stupid should hurt," McCandless received the hardest lesson that anyone could. Of course he couldn't really benefit from it, since he was dead. Unsigned, you need to go into yourself armed to the teeth, and really understand why his starvation and death fills you with happiness. Younggoldchip (talk) 14:24, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

death as Mid August[edit]

It its known Chris McCandless died between August 12 and September 4, so why can't we put mid august as a death date? Thetalkingheads (talk) 21:36, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

This article should be objective. Thus, words like "stupid" and "idiot" should not be used. I understand the fact that people will either like him or hate him, but like I said, this article should be objective. No opinions, unless they are quotes. Am I wrong? You can think he was stupid all you want. In fact, I personally feel he was foolish, but the article isn't a place for bias. Keep Wikipedia objective! — Preceding unsigned comment added by IMPREPREX (talkcontribs) 06:25, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

William Steger[edit]

I am wondering if under the influences section, if the name William Steger is possibly a typo-, should this be the writer Wallace Stegner instead? The former being a Federal Judge, the latter and renowned writer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jbsmathers (talkcontribs) 13:41, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

American Adventurer?[edit]

I take issue with this, is it really necessary? It seems very much a matter of opinion. Surely just a mention of his nationality and gender would be more appropriate. -- (talk) 18:02, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

The term "adventurer" is correct, evidenced by the definition of adventure. The way I see it, the use of the word is appropriate to summarize his life. Hiker, Explorer, and other such terms are similar, but do not accurately describe what McCandless did. Trut-h-urts man (talk) 18:31, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

No, adventurer is an opinion, this is not an opinion piece. If I wandered into the mountains and died, it wouldn't be an adventure. I'd say that hermit, recluse would be more suitable. I think we should have an unbiased third party on this as I assume the editor is influenced by book/movie and therefore the article has been emotionally skewed. -- (talk) 22:33, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

I've looked through the old revisions, and prior to the use of "adventurer", the term "itinerant" was used. Itinerant does not completely encapsulate McCandless, so I think both terms should be used. FYI, I'm not the editor who changed the term. In the future, you should always assume good faith. You're new, so I'll ignore the accusations of bias. If you'd prefer to wait for a third party, any changes to the term will be reverted due to a lack of consensus. Trut-h-urts man (talk) 01:59, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

How about WP:AAGF

I think we should also include a section saying how sad a song Eddie Vedders "Guaranteed" is and how Sean Penn is the god who controlled how sad Christopher McCandless life was :(. Basically this article has still not been fixed. It has been edited by those emotionally manipulated by a film when it should be neutral.Come on guys. Lets get this fixed. You're Canadian so I'll ignore your condescension and disproportionate sense of self-worth.-- (talk) 05:19, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Wanted to agree with the OP in this comment. Adventurer implies more deliberation and a specific goal. At best McCandless wished to become something more like a hermit (old term, so not suggesting that either). Itinerant is closer, by far, than adventurer. My key concern is that with the controversy otherwise adequately covered in the article, this implies he was a serious man with a plan, who unfortunately died while adventuring. There's a strong counter opinion that he was ill-prepared, so this lead in should not be too balanced either way, no matter what your personal opinion (for the record, I am well to the "he's a dumba**" camp, but still think the article needs to be balanced throughout). Shoobe01 (talk) 20:59, 6 June 2013 (UTC)


It doesn't appear that it would be a feat of Hercules, but:

  • "Walt and Billie often fought and sometimes contemplated divorce.[citation needed] Chris and Carine had six half-siblings living in California from Walt's first marriage. Walt was not yet divorced from his first wife when Chris and Carine were born; however, Chris did not discover his father's affair until a summer trip to Southern California[2] in 1986. This discovery caused him to hold a lot of bitterness towards his father, and could have been a factor in his views about society." - emphasis mine - how does anybody know that? Why is that there without a source? Why is this relevant?
  • At school, teachers noticed McCandless was unusually strong-willed. - Who? How do we quantify this?
  • On June 10, McCandless embarked on one of his first major adventures emphasis mine - how many did he have? What are we saying is great here?

In fact, saving myself some trouble, this entire paragraph is unreferenced and written as though it were a fansite:

On June 2, 1986, McCandless graduated from Wilbert Tucker Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia. On June 10, McCandless embarked on one of his first major adventures in which he traveled throughout the country in his Datsun B-210, arriving at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, two days prior to the beginning of fall classes. His upper middle class background and academic success were drivers for his contempt of what he saw as the empty materialism of society. McCandless was strongly influenced by Jack London, Leo Tolstoy, W. H. Davies and Henry David Thoreau. In his junior year, he declined membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society, on the basis that honors and titles were irrelevant. McCandless graduated from Emory on May 12, 1990, with a Bachelor's degree, double majoring in history and anthropology. He envisioned separating from organized society for a Thoreauvian period of solitary contemplation.

It continues on in this tone ad nauseum. PanydThe muffin is not subtle 23:43, 5 November 2013 (UTC)