Most of us shop alone for clothes, for food and the random crap we all need to keep going. Big purchases are usually done with someone else, I suppose. When we spend more than $100 there seems the need for consensus thinking. "Is it the right color?" "Am I spending too much?" "How do you think it will look with the current decor." "What credit card should I put this on?" "Does this make my butt look big?" Whatever.
So does all this buying alone make us sad? Are we not happy when we buy a home alone (I did) or a car (did that too) or a vacation (done many times)? I think we are, at least I am. I don't deny that doing things with others brings a different kind of happiness and lots would argue a 'better' kind of happiness. But while I spend a lot of time alone I also spend lots of time with my friends and family and I simply don't 'grade' my happiness in that fashion. I'm either happy or I'm not. Being alone when buying a house or a car or going on vacation alone shouldn't diminish the experience. Is it merely the act of telling someone about it, making it more real, that is really what Krakauer was getting at? It's like that old saying, "If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound." Well, duh. Of course it does. And if the tree could talk it would tell you about it as you walked by.
I've also got public storage units on my mind but will torture you with that at a later date.