Everest, the major motion picture from Universal Pictures, is set for wide release on September 18, 2015. Read The Climb, Anatoli Boukreev (portrayed by Ingvar Sigurðsson in the film) and G. Weston DeWalt’s compelling account of those fateful events on Everest.
In May 1996 three expeditions attempted to climb Mount Everest on the Southeast Ridge route pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Crowded conditions slowed their progress. Late in the day twenty-three men and women-including expedition leaders Scott Fischer and Rob Hall-were caught in a ferocious blizzard. Disoriented and out of oxygen, climbers struggled to find their way down the mountain as darkness approached. Alone and climbing blind, Anatoli Boukreev brought climbers back from the edge of certain death. This new edition includes a transcript of the Mountain Madness expedition debriefing recorded five days after the tragedy, as well as G. Weston DeWalt's response to Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer.
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About the Author
Anatoli Boukreev was (with G. Weston DeWalt) coauthor of The Climb and a world-renowned high-altitude mountaineer. Twenty-one times he reached the summit of the world's highest mountains. For his heroic actions on Mount Everest in May 1996, he was awarded the American Alpine Club's highest honor, the David A. Sowles Memorial Award.
Anatoli Boukreev was one of the world's foremost high-altitude mountaineers. Twenty-one times he went to the summit of the world's highest mountains. For his heroic actions on Mount Everest in May 1996, he was awarded the American Alpine Club's highest honor, the David A. Sowles Memorial Award. He died in an avalanche while climbing in Nepal on December 25,1997.
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Tragic Ambitions on Everest
By Anatoli Boukreev, G. Weston DeWalt
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 1997 Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt
All rights reserved.
A star, one that didn't belong, appeared in the night sky over the Himalaya in March 1996. For several consecutive days the star had been moving over the mountains, its trailing tail fanning into the darkness. The "star" was the comet Hyakutake. It was the beginning of the spring season on Mount Everest (8,848 m), that interval of time between the decline of winter and the coming of the summer monsoons when, historically, expeditions to Everest have been most successful, and Hyakutake's stellar trespass was considered an ominous sign by the Sherpas in whose villages the cosmic smear was a matter of concern and conversation.
The Sherpas, an ethnic group indigenous to Tibet, many of whom now live primarily in the highland valleys of Nepal, derive a substantial part of their family incomes from the mountaineering expeditions that come to the Himalaya. Some work as porters, cooks, and yak drivers; others take on the more dangerous and more lucrative roles as high-altitude support personnel, joining foreign expeditions in their ultimate wager: skill and endurance pitted against a physical environment that precludes prolonged human existence.
By 1996, in the seventy-five years that had passed since the first attempt was made on its summit in 1921, more than 140 climbers had died on Mount Everest. Almost 40 percent of those fatalities had been Sherpas. So, when the natural orders were disturbed, the Sherpas took notice.
Kami Noru Sherpa is in his midthirties, married, and the father of three children. He is one of the new generation of Sherpas who have, since the 1950s, exchanged their traditional dress for Gore-Tex parkas and embraced the cash economy of mountaineering. In 1996, as he had been for the past several years, Kami Noru Sherpa was hired by Himalayan Guides, a commercial adventure company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, to serve as a sirdar (manager) for an Everest expedition.
Headed by the bearded and burly Englishman Henry Todd, a fifty-one-year-old former rugby player turned expedition packager, Himalayan Guides had the distinction of never having lost a client. Todd's practicality and good luck in the mountains and his cooperative relationship with Kami Noru Sherpa had brought them both a measure of success in the Himalaya.
In the spring of 1995, Todd had offered a commercial expedition to Mount Everest, taking his client climbers to the mountain from the north side, from Tibet. The expedition had been an unqualified success. Eight climbers from his expedition had made it to the top. After such success, Todd and Kami Noru Sherpa were riding high, but not to the point of overconfidence. In fact, in March 1996, they were both anxious about the season ahead.
Kami Noru Sherpa had pointed out the errant "star" to Todd, and Todd recalls that Kami was disturbed by its presence. When Todd asked Kami Noru Sherpa what it meant to him and the other Sherpas, Kami said simply, "We don't know. We're not liking it."
"It [the comet] had been there for some time," said Todd, "and for the Sherpas it presaged things not going terribly well." A superstition, yes, thought Todd, but a matter of serious concern, because the people who knew the mountain best said it mattered.
To the uncertain meaning of the stellar disruption Todd could add his own problem. As of late March the winter snows had yet to melt to the point where his yak caravan could safely travel the trekking trail that led to the Mount Everest Base Camp (5,300 m). Some Sherpa porters were getting through on a narrow snow-packed trail, but hardly anyone else. Since the quantity of supplies required by expeditions requires the carrying power and capacity of yak teams, the pace of his supply effort had been slowed considerably. It was a headache, not yet a nightmare, but a problem that could grow to that proportion if the trails remained impassable for much longer. The weather window for attempts on the Everest summit stays open only for a brief period and closes abruptly with the coming of the monsoon season. If expeditions are not adequately provisioned when the time for their summit bid arrives, they might as well have never traveled to the mountain.
As almost everyone does in the face of an uncertainty, Todd and Kami Noru Sherpa took actions that might forestall or minimize the problems that each of them faced. In Kathmandu, Nepal (1,400 m), where he was addressing an accumulation of logistical problems and waiting for snows north of him to further melt, Todd took delivery of several cases of J & B Scotch, a gift from one of his climbers who had been sponsored, in part, by the distillery. Giving careful packing instructions to his Sherpas who would be freighting the spirits to his Base Camp, Todd more than half-anticipated some nights when the libation might serve to take off the edge. Kami Noru Sherpa, not a Scotch drinker, prepared for what was ahead in his own way.
On March 29, in his slate-roofed stone house in Pangboche (4,000 m), a village niched into a series of terraces overlooking the trekking trail that winds to the base of Mount Everest, Kami Noru Sherpa held a puja, a ritual thanks to the mountains and a prayer of blessing. At sunrise, in a large, second-floor room above a grain storage area, five Buddhist monks in maroon and saffron robes seated themselves in a circle. Encircling them were Kami Noru Sherpa and several other of the Sherpas from Pangboche who had been hired to work on Everest. A wavering, pale yellow glow from yak-butter lamps and a few stray beams of morning sun offered the only light, nicking here and there the weave of reds and blues in the Tibetan rugs on the hand-sawn plank floors. Spirals of smoke drifted from a cooking fire, and the rich, sweet smell of juniper branches escaped as they were burnt in offering.
The chants of the monks played off the walls and echoed back into their repetition, and with every redoubling came a calm and peace, an assurance that, if the Sherpas honored it, the mountain would protect them and deliver them home. As the puja ended, the monks gave each of the Sherpas a protective amulet, a knotted loop of red string. With quiet reverence and a bow of thanks, each of them accepted the gift and placed the string around their necks.
Over the next few days, as the snows continued to melt, Kami Noru Sherpa and the Sherpas would leave their homes and trek to the Everest Base Camp, where they would join the expeditions that had hired them. Working for anywhere from $2.50 to $50 a day, they would help establish camps, carry loads up the mountain, and cook for and serve the climbers who were coming to Everest in ever greater numbers.
In the early 1980s the number of climbers and expedition support personnel who would gather in the Everest Base Camp during the spring season could have fit into one Paris metro car. In 1996, more than four hundred people would eventually come up the trail and pitch their tents, giving the camp the appearance of a rock concert encampment. One climber described the 1996 Everest Base Camp as having all the appearances of "a circus, except there were more clowns in our tents." By many accounts, there were some real "punters" on the mountain in 1996.
A Taiwanese expedition headed by Makalu Gau was the source of endless jokes, which thinly veiled serious concerns about his team's qualifications and their ability to get off the mountain alive. One climber said, "I'd as soon have been on the mountain with the Jamaican bobsled team." And then there was the Johannesburg Sunday Times Expedition, which had publicly been embraced by Nelson Mandela. Stories about the relative inexperience of many of their climbers and questions about the veracity of their wiry and short-tempered leader, Ian Woodall, were roundly exchanged over Henry Todd's Scotch.
American climber and Everest veteran Ed Viesturs was heard to say, "A lot of people are up here who shouldn't be." Viesturs, thirty-seven, was working as a guide and doubling as an on-camera talent for the MacGillivray Freeman IMAX/IWERKS Expedition, headed by the American climber and filmmaker David Breashears. The film production, with one of the largest budgets ever committed to a documentary about Everest, was to result in a large-format film to be released in 1998. Designed to be projected in theaters outfitted with wraparound screens and state-of-the-art sound systems, the film would offer virtual, armchair Everest.
Breashears, in his early forties, was something of a legend in the Himalaya. More than any other climber, except for perhaps Sir Edmund Hillary, who with Tenzing Norgay summited Mount Everest for the first time in 1953, Breashears had been successful in making Everest a cash cow, deriving over the years a substantial portion of his income from his activities on the mountain. In 1985, he had the distinction of having guided Texas businessman and millionaire Dick Bass to the summit. Bass, at fifty-five, became the oldest climber to date to make the top. This accomplishment is seen by many as the pivotal point in the history of attempts to climb Everest. The adventuresome and the well-to-do took notice. If a fifty-five-year-old with motivation and discretionary income could do it, anybody could! Commercial expedition companies were spawned to address the demand that was stimulated and to service customers who could pay big dollars for big mountains.
As Breashears and his IMAX/IWERKS expeditionary force trekked toward the Everest Base Camp, they made an impression. Not far from Kami Nora Sherpa's house in Pangboche, several members of the expedition had stopped at a teahouse and occupied some of its tables. They ordered tea, but refused the offer of local food, preferring instead home-bought goodies pulled from expedition bags. One veteran at the Everest Base Camp who found the team a little too coiffed and cool referred to them as the "Gucci guys."
Tenting nearby the IMAX/IWERKS Expedition at the Everest Base Camp were Henry Todd's Himalayan Guides expedition and several other commercial expeditions that, like Todd's, had brought paying clients to the mountain. Among the "dollar dogs," as one Everest chronicler has privately labeled commercial expedition members, was the Adventure Consultants Guided Expedition, headed by New Zealander Rob Hall.
Hall, black bearded and imposing with a "Lincolnesque" appearance, had an intensity and quiet reserve that made many think he was much older than his thirty-five years. Since 1990, when his company began taking expeditions to Everest, Hall had taken a record thirty-nine climbers (clients and expedition personnel combined) to the top of Everest. His company's "adverts" that ran in international climbing magazines were large, alluring, and not immodest. One that appeared in early 1995 read: "100% Success! Send for Our Free Color Brochure." One hundred percent that is until May 1995, when he turned all of his clients back from their bid to the summit as deep snows at higher elevations had slowed their progress. No clients had made the summit.
In 1996, Rob Hall was back, ready to go again, determined, if he could, to get back into the win column. The pressure was on. Success, not turnarounds, brought in new business, and there was an additional challenge in 1996: a new competitor in the game.
Scott Fischer from West Seattle, Washington, was coming to the mountain. Six foot four with a chiseled, symmetrical face and long, flowing blond hair, he ran his West Seattle, Washington-based adventure company, Mountain Madness, as an extension of his personal ambition: to climb mountains around the world and to have a hell of a time doing it.*
With his talent, good looks, and charm, he was a prime candidate for mountaineering's poster boy. He had a charismatic personality with the drawing power of an industrial magnet. He could attract clients, motivate them, get them to commit, to write their checks and pack their rucksacks. He was a contender, but new to the business of guiding a commercial expedition to Mount Everest.
His motivation for becoming an Everest "dollar dog," one of his business associates has said, was fairly simple: "I think that he looked at Rob Hall's success and thought ... 'If he can do it, I can do it.' And not in a competitive macho way, but just saying, 'Hey, I'm a really great climber. Why can't I do it, too? ... I'll get clients and I'll go, too.' " Go, too, and make the money, too.
Mountain Madness's former general manager, Karen Dickinson, described the company's decision to package expeditions to Everest as "kind of the ultimate in high-altitude mountaineering. There was a demand from our clients that we wanted to service or else lose them to the competition. If it goes well, it could be very lucrative, so there was a financial motivation. Of course, I can't stress enough that you're equally as likely to lose your shirt.... It's just a high-stakes game financially."
Fischer was focused on the potential of the big rewards that could come from running a successful expedition. He had been thinking about changing his life. Karen Dickinson said, "He had turned forty the year before; his business had finally gotten to where he wanted.... He'd climbed K2 [8,611 m]; he'd climbed Everest; he was established as a successful guide.... He was talking about maybe he wouldn't go back to the summit of Everest again, that he would hire people to do that."
The plan had been loosely sketched, little more than casual conversations between Fischer and Dickinson, but those who knew him best said Fischer was giving more consideration to shaking things up. His personal life, his role in the company, his public persona, everything was up for midlife review.
Fischer had worked at developing the Mountain Madness business since the early 1980s, but it had never consistently provided him a good, steady income. Climbing had been his thing; the business had enabled that, but he'd never been a headliner, had never played in the big tent. A commercial success on Everest, he knew, could considerably alter the picture. If he could draw enough clients at $65,000 apiece (Hall's asking price), and if he could build a successful big-mountain expedition schedule, he could solve a lot of problems, finance a lot of change.
Part of the challenge in his birthing a new direction was his lack of international visibility. He didn't have the reputation of many of the other players in high-altitude mountaineering who graced the covers and pages of climbing magazines and equipment catalogs. As his efforts as an expedition leader had progressed, his personal climbing career had taken a back seat. He had come to feel, as one friend put it, "that he wasn't getting his due in the media ... the press didn't treat him fairly, that he wasn't respected; his name wasn't really brought up much; he wanted to be recognized."
His difficulty, as some of those around him saw it, was his image: accomplished climber, instructor, guide, and photographer, yes, but also swashbuckling, devil-may-care, good-time guy. These characterizations made for a certain kind of notoriety, but it wasn't the kind of image that made the big-dollar clients comfortable or drew the lucrative Fortune 500 sponsorships. He was, for that league, perhaps too "dicey." A successful Everest expedition, one with a lot of visibility, could "skew the do."
Working the phones from their West Seattle office, Dickinson, Fischer, and their staff massaged the client list to promote their expedition, and they mailed out hundreds of promotional brochures, two-color productions that had the graphic allure of a lawn-mower operator's manual. They didn't have the luster or panache of Rob Hall's advertising, but they were on the street with the word: "Climbers on the 1996 team will get a crack at the highest mountain in the world.... We'll build a pyramid of camps, each stocked from the one below. The guides and high-altitude Sherpa staff will fix rope, establish and stock camps, and provide leadership for all summit attempts. Climbers will carry light loads, saving their strength for the summit."
For Fischer's competitors in the Everest game, it was not good news to hear that he'd decided to move into the market. Fischer's easygoing style and his efforts in packaging expeditions to the remotest destinations in Africa, South America, and Asia had attracted a lot of customers from around the world, and his success, if it came, would be especially problematic for Rob Hall, who had been incredibly successful in recruiting American clients for his Everest expeditions.
Excerpted from The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev, G. Weston DeWalt. Copyright © 1997 Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 Mountain Madness,
CHAPTER 2 The Everest Invitation,
CHAPTER 3 Doing the Deals,
CHAPTER 4 The Clients,
CHAPTER 5 The Trail to Everest,
CHAPTER 6 Doing the Details,
CHAPTER 7 Base Camp,
CHAPTER 8 Khumbu to Camp II,
CHAPTER 9 Camp II,
CHAPTER 10 The First Delays,
CHAPTER 11 Toward the Push,
CHAPTER 12 The Countdown,
CHAPTER 13 Into the Death Zone,
CHAPTER 14 To the South Summit,
CHAPTER 15 The Last Hundred,
CHAPTER 16 Decision and Descent,
CHAPTER 17 Snowblind,
CHAPTER 18 Walk or Crawl,
CHAPTER 19 The Rescue Transcript,
CHAPTER 20 The Last Attempt,
CHAPTER 21 Mountain Media Madness,
EPILOGUE: THE RETURN TO EVEREST,
EVEREST UPDATE: A RESPONSE TO JON KRAKAUER,
A REVIEW FROM THE AMERICAN ALPINE JOURNAL,
MOUNTAIN MADNESS EVEREST DEBRIEFING: A TRANSCRIPT,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Read this book as a supplement to Into Thin Air. You will be shocked. Boukreev is the true climber and the reputable source if you speak to anyone in the climbing community. Krakauer was the tourist. This book is more difficult too read but you will learn the truth.
As i was reading this book i began to fill like i knew toli. no matter what other people who were on everest in 1996 say i belive that Anatoli was the hero. he risked his on life so that others could live. I think Jon krakaur was so wrong in many of his statments and his book out rages me. I was deeply touched by anatoli's book and as a person who plans on climbing everest, Anatoli is a hero and role model to me. he will be remembered as a hero.
It is a story of maximum courage and sacrifice, that doesn't shy away from explaining the what and way behind the leadership decisions that must be made in one the most extreme environments on earth. How many men alive could have even come close to saving the lives that Anatoli Boukreev saved on the ill-fated 1996 expeditions? After reading his side of the story, it is sad to me that his integrity was so maligned by John Krakauer in his book "Into Thin Air." Exhausting the limits of one's physical ability on Everest by rescuing lives, especially in the absence of adequate provisions of oxygen, is nothing to be slammed for. I am glad that I got to know Anatoli Boukreev through this book; for this knowing makes me a more well-rounded person.
This book was very good and provided an accurate depiction of the events of the 1996 Everest Expedition. This book is factual and fair. I read Into Thin Air and felt that Kraukauer was trying to assuage his survivor's guilt by blaming Boukreev. The only villian in the 1996 expedition was Mount Everest. Needless to say the only climbing I'll be doing is the stairs!! A highly recommended Read.
While not as readable, This book about the deadlly Mt. Everest climbs of May 1996, like [author:Krakauer]'s [book: Into Thin Air] is a must read for those who enjoy non-fiction adventure tales of human endurance and extreme circumstances. [author:Anatoli Boukreev], the author was a professional climber with Scott Fisher's Mountain Madness expedtion. [author: Boukreev] felt Krakauer's earlier published account inaccurately reported his own actions and motivations. The two books should be read together even though the narrative voices and intent of the autors differ so much. Without both perspectives (& those of the other survivors and climbers on the mountain that day) it is impossible to comprehend the scale of hubris or risks taken and subsequent courage displayed by the people involved, both living and dead. Boukreev would later receive The American Alpine Club David Sowles Award, its highest award for courage, for his efforts in bringing Sandy Hill Pittman, Charlotte Fox and Tim Madsen back from the stormy South Col to Camp IV alive. Boukreev himself died Christmas Day in an subsequent avalanche in 1997 on Annapurna. Two other books from a much earlier arctic expedition that required the utmost of its men are: [book: The Worst Journey in the World], a memoir of the 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott written by a survivor of the expedition, [author: Apsley Cherry-Garrard] of the expedition's disastrous outcome, and the meaning (if any) of human suffering under extreme conditions should be required reading of every ship's captain, manager, coach or person who puts them selves in a position of leadership.Contrasting Cherry's book with [author: Elspeth Josceline Huxley]'s [book:Scott of the Antarctic] is the kind of reading Krakauer and Boukreev's accounts inspire. One book leads to the other as though a detective were calling and reporting in on what his next steps will be on a difficult case.
I read The Climb immediately upon completion of Jon Krakauer's award winning memoir, Into Thin Air. Anatoli Boukreev's book is oft referenced as a counterpoint to Krakauer's work and in it he defends many of decisions that were questioned in Into Thin Air. This book also describes the Mt. Everest climbing disaster in May of 1996, but this time the story shifts from that of client to that of guide. Boukreev serves as a climbing leader for Scott Fischer's Mountain Madness and his memoir tells the story from this angle.Observing the same people and places from another vantage point is fascinating and educational, but I lost interest towards the end of the book when the novel switches from a tragic yet heroic tale of Everest to a 100+ page diatribe on why Krakauer was incorrect. I do understand wanting to keep your name clean, but I think the actions spoke strongly throughout the text and did not need a 100+ pages of bonus material to ensure you wore the "Team Boukreev" T-shirt. Aside from the last bit, this is a very well written novel that I would highly recommend.
Pæan to the late mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev and his role in the calamitous 1996 season at Mt. Everest. Stylistically, it's not nearly as well-written as Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. Substantively, it attends mainly to the details of one particular team¿s activities, while Krakauer's book takes a broader perspective. After reading both books, I'm not sure I understand why anyone did what they did, or even in some cases what anyone did, which is probably the point of the whole story: think Rash¿mon.This book's illustration of the Everest massif provides a better sense of vertical scale for the ascent of the glacier leading up to Mt. Everest than does Krakauer's, and the regional map includes towns at lower elevations than on Krakauer 's (doesn't really affect the story; I just like knowing geographical details). Krakauer's text provides more geological detail about the climb route.I read Krakauer's book first; I wonder what I would think had I read Boukreev's first. But I will say this much: Krakauer admitted to very poor decisions of his own, whereas in this book everybody, and I mean that literally, is accused of poor decision-making ¿ except Boukreev (I first noticed this about a third of the way through, before the summit attempt, and then started watching for mention of poor decisions by Boukreev. There were none). Fair or not, such a "Teflon ¿Toli" portrayal does him no favors.
I found this book a fascinating follow-up to Krakauer's Into Thin Air. I don't think that I would have enjoyed this book nearly as much if I had read it before Into Thin Air. The Climb is not written in a style that I found as engaging as Krakauer's, though I found that I prefer this telling of the events. The Climb has much more technical descriptions, attention to detail as to the source of information, and a more objective explanation of the uncertainty and disagreements surrounding the details of the events described.
Ten stars. This is a must read for any fan of Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air'. Boukreev is a genuine hero.When he mentioned that he hated small talk and trying to motivate others in an unfamiliar language I was so sympathetic. In the translation of Boukreev's Russian you can tell how eloquent he really was. Of course the transcript of his attempt to explain things in English does not reflect this. I so understand.The difference between Hall's and Fischer's philosophies of guiding were emblematic of an ongoing debate between practitioners in the adventure travel industry. The camps of belief can be roughly divided between the "situationalists" and the "legalists." The situationalists argue that in leading a risky adventure no system of rules can adequately cover every situation that might arise, and they argue that rules on some occasions should be subordinated tounique demands that present themselves, the legalists, believing that rules can substantially reduce the possibility of bad decisions being made, ask that personal freedom take a backseat.Mr. Krakauer...never paints the big picture of one of the most amazing rescues in mountaineering history performed single-handedly a few hours after climbing Everest without oxygen by a man some describe as the Tiger Woods of Himalayan climbing.And on the reason why so many died on that climb;To cite a specific cause would be to promote an omniscience that only Gods, drunks, politicians, and dramatic writers can claim.Amen. It was hubris, youth, greed, arrogance, audacity and the nature of the beast the allowed so many to die on Everest in '96. IMHO.
The Climb is a great book - Boukreev's story of the tragic 1996 Everest expedition is very human - more so IMO than Krakauer. The personalities of the guides and the planning of the expedition ring true and Boukreev's account of the night in which 2 clients and 3 guides died is matter of fact - as he was rescuing a small group of stranded climbers and trying to reach more till exhaustion took over. His frustration at not being able to rouse more rescuers is obvious and had there been more help it is possible he could have gotten to scott Fisher or Rob Hall who died after a night of exposure high above Camp IV.I just ordered his other book - which includes some of his diaries from that night. He died one year later in an avalanche.
If you have Read Into Thin Air you will want to read this book. While not as good the story is still gripping and it is very interesting to see the differences in how two people view the same situation. This disaster on Everest is well documented both on TV, IMAX and in these books. Its a must read in my list.
The story of the man who risked everything to save lost climbers May 10, 1996, was the day eight climbers died on Mount Everest. Four climbers from Rob Hall’s Adventure Consultants Expedition, including Rob; Scott Fisher, leader of the Mountain Madness Expedition; and three climbers from an Indo-Tibetan Border Police Expedition that were scaling Everest from the opposite side died of falls or exposure. A member of the Taiwanese Expedition had died the day before from a fall. Against all odds and left to for dead, Beck Weathers stumbled into camp under his own steam. As Anatoli states, he is writing this book as a rebuttal to a perceived disparaging account of his actions in Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air. Anatoli explains his decision to climb without supplementary oxygen, the reasoning behind his decision to leave Yasuko Namba for dead and why since Beck did survive Anatoli had not brought him into camp. While some have hailed Anatoli as a near superhuman hero and others as a man devoted only to his own clients, I do not get that sort of feeling from his words. Anatoli felt that anyone would have done what he did if he or she were able. He mourned over Yasuko, gathered her personal item for her family, and even buried her where she fell. He has said he did not know where Beck was, as Beck had become separated from the others. His words have the ring of truth. Only those on the mountain that day could pass judgment on any decision made by anyone else who went through the same disastrous day. Each saw things from his or her perspective. Anatoli may not have thought himself a hero, but those that he aided can and have said differently! I give the book four stars… Quoth the Raven…
This is in some ways a counterpoint to Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air," and while I believe that there is no way to tell who is most accurate - Krakauer does admit to disorientation and confusion - it is worthwhile to read both with that in mind. Bourkeev gives a fantastically interesting account of the tragic events in those few days, and being more experienced in climbing, presents, I think, an informative perspective.
This book is a great read if you have ever read "Into Thin Air". The book mainly focuses on what Anatoli viewed and his experience and only the last part of it seems to be attacking "Into Thin Air". If you have read "Into Thin Air" this is a must read. Overall just a good book.
Though there are many accounts of the 1996 Everest Disaster, this one is not worth reading. The Everest Disaster was a freak weather incident where hurricane winds battered the mountain where team work totally broke down. Everyone fended for themselves and then only thought of the consequences (particularly the guides... leaving one (Anatoni) sipping tea in a tent and resting while everyone else (including his head guide Scott Fisher and the other team's guide Rod Hall) was exposed to the elements. No one doubts Anatoni's mountain climbing abilities and knowledge of high altitude mountains, regardless he though only oh him self in this incident. He is not solely to blame for what happened and the element of weather... but he was only climbing with clients to support his income and he doesn't shy away from letting people know that is other interviews that he approved. Climbing Everest with clients from his own team and practically working in tandem with Rob Hall's team, he started from Camp IV with no bottled oxygen knowing perfectly well that he would only be able to summit for a short time and have to head down immediately due not because of fatigue but because of the bracing cold. He head back down to camp IV not because Fisher advised him to do which is claimed in this book, but because he wanted to get to the warmth of the tent. This book is poorly researched in the fact that DeWalt on several occasions had the opportunities to interview eyewitnesses has to what happened and from this there is a lack of truth from all possible accounts as to what happened. Once again Anatoni is not the sole one to blame and certain people such as Sandy Hill Pittman should have not even been on Everest to begin with, which is Rob Hall's fault no matter how great person he is all well. Yes it was heroic of Anatoni to go out in the hurricane of snow to look for clients that where not his but he would have had to do so he had used bottles oxygen to remain active in helping out clients instead of heading down to eat and sleep. Further more, why blame clients for not helping him? Clients are just that clients. People such as Jon Krakauer had never been on Everest before... how the hell would he truly know where to look for people without falling into a crevasse or off the face of the mountain? Even then the most seasoned climber would have had trouble finding their way through the storm. Guides are the support system to help in emergencies. If a client in willing and able to help then they should by sheer ethics. Anatoni had no ethics whatsoever on this particular trip. Anatoli got to summit Everest and take a nap while everyone else was struggling. I never will know Anatoli personally as many who will read this book... so I can only guess what he really was like away from mountain and as a friend to the people around him. But his actions on Everest and other future trips to other mountains where again he didn't stay to help a team member also died in the aftermath of carelessness is enough to come to my own thoughts. Why the need to write a personal account if you are in the right and poorly researched by simply not talking to the other climbers that where on the mountain to witness what had happened? Because he knew they would report damning evidence against his own personal take on the Mount Everest Disaster. I came away feeling after reading Into Thin Air about Anatoli the same as I came away from reading this account, horrified
This book was excellent. Into Thin Air was also excellent. Anyone who criticizes Anatoli Boukreev is ignoring a very clear fact: All of the clients he was responsible for guiding survived. Questionable decisions were made by ALL parties involved yet Anatoli seems to get the brunt of the abuse. It was a tragedy, simple as that. Into Thin Air and The Climb are nothing more than the same story told from different points of view. Does anyone expect every detail to be the same? Read both books, enjoy them, but remember the only villain is the mountain itself.
Every story has two sides. In this book, readers of Jon Krakauer's best selling Into Thin Air can hear the other side of that particular tale. It's my opinion that no one ought to read one without also reading the other. On May 10, 1996, a winter storm decided to attack the world's highest mountain in spring. Caught in the well-named Death Zone, so high above sea level that the bodies of climbers who linger there literally start to die, the members of two commercial expeditions fought desperately for survival. The leaders of both teams - New Zealander Rob Hall, and American Scott Fischer - died despite being world-class mountaineers and Everest veterans. So did three members of Hall's team, while a fourth barely got off the mountain alive. All of the Fischer guides and clients survived, though, and none suffered the kind of horrific frostbite that left Hall client Beck Weathers both maimed and disfigured. Why did things turn out so differently for the two teams, after both lost their leaders? Krakauer's book offers one answer. This book, co-authored by Scott Fischer's head guide, offers quite another. Neither Anatoli Boukreev nor his co-author possesses Krakauer's well-honed journalistic skills. This is a much plainer work, in many ways and it's definitely less readable. I found it just as compelling, though, and it's rich in source material. Thank goodness Boukreev completed it before his death, because his side of the story is well worth hearing.
I have read 'Into thin air' , 'Scots last voyage', 'K2 triumph and tragedy' , 'No shortcuts to the top, climbing the worlds 14 highest peaks' and all 3 books of the 'Everest series'. I have also bagged my fair share of peaks which include all of the california fourteeners , denali , hood , all of the colorado fourteeners , brown tower , mount blackburn,white mountain , as well as 2 atempts on Sagamartha ( Everest) and 1 summit of Cho Oyu and 1 attempt on K2, I have also completed both the appalachian trail from end to end as the pacific crest trail from end to end. I now own a guid business and I have been a guide for almost 15 years. Upon reading 'Into thin air' by John Krakauer i felt compelled to see the other side of the story and i still feel the same as i did before i read Boukreev's book , he should have never left his clients in the first place , if he would have stayed with his clients perhaps he would have died as well but still , he shouldnt have left his clients. I feel that the attacking of the climbers that were on both summit teams. It was a freaked accident , weather turns bad and you have to know whent to turn around , if the turn around times were enforced and followed then this accident would have been aviodable. Both books are great if you dont have alot of knowledge in mountaineering. Very suspensfull and somewhat informative , the book seemed to do nothing but try to mudsling other books out there.