Obviously, with a story so laden with archetypes, the content was bound to be oppressive to women. After all, traditional archetypes hold women far away from the role of hero, explorer, sage or any character respectable for their leadership or might. Instead, women are confined to caregivers at best and objects and tools at worst.
The distinct lack of strong female climbers in Jon’s tale reflects that. In fact, the idea of women being shoved to the side is present before Jon even starts his climb for the sake of his article, when he decides to simply put his family on hold for six whole months while he goes off to have adventures for his job. This leaves his poor wife in a state of self-sufficiency and independence without any indication or question from her husband as to if it she will be okay. Just running off for such a long period of time for any reason let alone work is enough to strain if not kill most relationships, and John takes no account of what his wife may feel on the subject of his absence, because he knows better than she does, being the breadwinner.
This also brings the point of working at all. Barely anything is to be said for what his wife does for a living, or how she juggles her own responsibilities. Is she able to take care of her child, job and maintain the house all alone? In this story, she only exists to serve the purpose of the happy, supportive housewife, just relevant enough to do the cooking, cleaning and raising the children while her husband is out working and having fun. This can be backed up by knowing of John’s net worth: a whopping 35 million dollars. Thanks to some internet research I was able to find that Jon K has a net value of 35 million, obviously enough to sustain his expensive hobby and ensure his wife does not have to have a life involving independance. With that said, it is obvious that Jon’s wife doesn’t work herself, and is instead resigned since her marriage in 1980 to be a tool in the house instead of a breadwinner. Even on the mountain there are no strong female characters. The amount of women itself is a measly 2, and they fill no heroic roles. In fact, one of them is too old and feeble to even belong on the mountain, which becomes painfully evident as she dies up there. Clearly the public status of women in the time of the everest disaster was far from strong.