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The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by…

The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest

by Anatoli Boukreev, G. Weston DeWalt

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8132411,203 (3.63)39

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4.25 stars.

This is an account of the climb up Mount Everest in 1996 that resulted in tragedy when a storm came up during the descent from the summit. Anatoli Boukreev was a guide with Scott Fischer’s group, and in Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air, he was not portrayed favourably.

Boukreev’s account of what happened gives an explanation for his actions on the mountain, so it helps fill in some blanks. It is definitely a worthwhile read to see another side of what happened and to balance out Krakauer’s book. I wish I had read it closer to the time I read Into Thin Air, so I could compare it a bit more, but I think for anyone who has read Into Thin Air, The Climb is another that should be read in order to learn more. I’m not sure it is quite as compelling as Into Thin Air, but still a very good account, from another perspective. Or a good place to start, even for those who haven’t read Into Thin Air. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jan 11, 2017 |
This is Anatoli Boukreev’s first-hand account of the worst human disaster in the history of Mt. Everest taking place in 1996. This book was written in 1999 and is as spell-binding as ever. It is the same disaster written about in, ‘Into This Air,’ by Jon Krakauer, but from the perspective of Boukreev and the Mountain Madness team. ( )
1 vote St.CroixSue | Mar 28, 2016 |
This is a sober, serious book, painstakingly honest. I believe that the vast majority of people familiar with the climbing world would consider this book a more realistic and valuable commentary than Krakauer’s. Into Thin Air is a fine read, but is unfortunately tainted by wildly irrational and petty attacks on Boukreev, the great hero of that fiasco.

Anyone who liked Into Thin Air would almost certainly like this book. Please remember that it was written simply to present the truth, by a real climber who repeatedly flogged himself through superhuman efforts to save others. And he did it in unimaginably horrendous conditions. ( )
1 vote WarrenRoss | Feb 25, 2016 |
This book should be read with Into Thin Air. Then the reader should go watch the National Geograhic Imax film. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by the late great Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt was, at its heart, a direct rebuttal of Jon Krakauer's assertions in Into Thin Air that Anatoli Boukreev abandoned the clients he was hired to guide up and down Everest on that fateful day, May 10, 1996, when five climbers from two different commercial expeditions perished in a surprise storm on their descent from the summit.

The late Anatoli Boukreev was considered by many the best mountaineer in the world at the time the events documented in The Climb occurred, with nearly a dozen 8,000m peaks in his pocket, including ascents to the top of Everest and several other of the highest Himalayan mountains without oxygen. His physical conditioning and acclimatization techniques for thriving in high altitudes remain arguably unsurpassed almost two decades since his untimely death on Christmas, 1997, in an avalanche on Annapurna. And more importantly, they remain practical examples of what you need to do — and how you need to do it — in order to survive the insane Everest ordeal.

But did being an expert mountaineer necessarily preclude the possibility of Boukreev making a fatal mistake; namely, abandoning his clients high up on Everest in a death zone whiteout in order to save his own skin? Depends on who you ask, though I would reply, based on reading The Climb and Into Thin Air, with a hearty "hardly." According to Boukreev, his swift descent from the summit ahead of the clients he was hired to protect and to guide was part of the plan determined beforehand by his expedition leader, Scott Fischer. Unfortunately, Scott Fischer was one of the victims that horrific afternoon and evening on the mountain, and so he can obviously neither confirm nor deny Boukreev's claim. Boukreev, after descending, did in fact go back out into the swirling whiteout and singlehandedly save several climbers, but could he have saved more — saved everyone?— had he not left the climbers in the first place? Pure conjecture. Who knows? Who could definitively say? Not Krakauer, although he apparently thought he could. Funny how what Krakauer alleged Boukreev of doing he did himself: swiftly descending from the summit of Everest in order to save his own foolhardy ass. Granted, Krakauer was a journalist with some lesser climbing experience who by his own accounts in Into Thin Air probably never should have attempted Everest in the first place (ya think?), while Boukreev was a mountaineering professional. But regardless, Krakauer can't legitimately claim to know the outcomes of every what-if scenario culled from what would've had to have been an exponential number of unpredictable contingencies that day, unless he were God. And I seriously doubt God's last name is Krakauer.

Incredibly, even almost twenty years after Boukreev's death, the controversy — did Boukreev behave appropriately or not as a guide, did he? didn't he? — still rages. It's ludicrous. The bickering that's gone on back-and-forth in this-mountaineering-magazine or that-online-climbing-forum between Krakauer's adherents and Boukreev's staunch defenders amounts to more than all the accumulated literature ever written about Mt. Everest, and yet it all amounts to nothing, to so much redundant rhetoric of he-said she-said regarding facts that can never be known. I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Horrell's observation that sometimes, no one is to blame when climbers die on Everest. After reading and reflecting upon Boukreev's side of the controversy in The Climb, I'm convinced this was also the case in the dire sequence of events that transpired May 10th, 1996, on Mt. Everest. The Climb is a riveting and painstakingly detailed remembrance recorded within days of the disaster by Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt. Among mountaineering memoirs, it ranks right up there with the best ever written about Everest. ( )
7 vote EnriqueFreeque | May 31, 2015 |
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DeWalt, G. Westonmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312965338, Mass Market Paperback)

The Climb is Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev's account of the harrowing May 1996 Mount Everest attempt, a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of eight people. The book is also Boukreev's rebuttal to accusations from fellow climber and author Jon Krakauer, who, in his bestselling memoir, Into Thin Air, suggests that Boukreev forfeited the safety of his clients to achieve his own climbing goals. Investigative writer and Climb coauthor G. Weston DeWalt uses taped statements from the surviving climbers and translated interviews from Boukreev to piece together the events and prove to the reader that Boukreev's role was heroic, not opportunistic. Boukreev refers to the actions of expedition leader Scott Fischer throughout the ascent, implying that factors other than the fierce snowstorm may have caused this disaster. This new account sparks debate among both mountaineers and those who have followed the story through the media and Krakauer's book. Readers can decide for themselves whether Boukreev presents a laudable defense or merely assuages his own bruised ego.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:05 -0400)

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"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 womenincluding 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."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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