am 30. Juli 2000
This is the story about the 1996 Everest tragedy told from the perspective of Anatoli Boukreev, who was one of the guides on the ill-fated Mountain Madness expedition. It is written almost as a rebuttal to the perceived criticism by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air) of Boukreev's actions on that ill-fated Everest climb.
This is a poorly written account which is oftentimes confusing. It has none of the clarity of prose found in Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". It is, however, an important chronicle from someone who was there on Everest, and who had a pivotal role in the tragic events. Boukreev provides an insider's view of the Mountain Madness expedition itself and of the preparations which go into such a journey. It is packed with many interesting details which will delight Everest junkies.
Whether Boukreev's actions on the mountain were irresponsible, in that he did not use supplementary oxygen to summit and immediately returned to camp after summitting, rather than remain with the expedition's clients, or whether he was just following the orders of the expedition leader, Scott Fisher, who himself died on Everest, is an issue which will long be debated in mountaineering circles. There is no doubt, however, that Boukreev did, in fact, single handedly rescue three of the climbers during a raging blizzard; climbers who without his intervention would have died. Given the extreme weather conditions, his foray up the mountain to rescue climbers is nothing less than heroic.
Boukreev's is an important voice in the Everest annals, more so now that his voice has been silenced. On Christmas day, 1997, Boukreev died in an avalanche on Annapurna. RIP.
am 15. März 2016
I would recommend reading this book BEFORE reading Into Thin Air. The writing styles are completely different as are the aims of the books. But in spite of my initial bias toward Into Thin Air, I was very impressed with Boukreev's intensity and need - which was as great as Krakauer's - to tell his story. The 1996 Everest expedition is well documented and is gripping as an adventure and survival story. It is also a window into a side of humanity that seldom comes to light. Read this book. if you like me are curretnly devouring Everest adventure stories this must go at the top of the heap.
Forget the petty disagreements between Boukreev and Krakauer - so minor compared to the sweeping emotions of the assaults on Everest.
am 22. Dezember 1998
I think that those "defending" Anatoli Boukreev and The Climb against Jon Krakauer and Into Thin Air's "harsh, brutal accusations" need to re-read Into Thin Air.
When I first read Into Thin Air, I walked away thinking "what a tragedy" and "how sad". I didn't walk away thinking that specific people were to blame for the tragedy that happened that day. For days after finishing the book, I thought about the MANY INCIDENCES Jon Krakauer pointed out that led up to deaths of eight people on Mt. Everest that May, 1996. Jon Krakauer seemed to write objectively -- stating his interpretations of mistakes made by many, including Scott Fischer, Rob Hall, Anatoli Boukreev -- and himself. Never did I get the feeling that Jon Krakauer blamed Anatoli Boukreev for the events that occured that day. Actions by Boukreev were just one more contributing factor -- along with actions by Fischer, Hall, Krakauer, the other guides and sherpas of Mountain Madness and Adventure Consultants, the other expeditions on the mountain, and Mother Nature.
Although very interesting and informative, The Climb is too defensive, and strikes back at Into Thin Air when there is nothing to "stike back against". Yes, Krakauer questioned some of the decisions Anatoli made, but he also noted that Anatoli was a hero, as well. He also questioned decisions made by others (will they be coming out with a book also to defend their actions!). So, why did Anatoli feel the need to be so defensive of his "actions" that day -- if he did nothing wrong?
Into Thin Air is an incredible book that raises many questions -- with regards to the commercialization of climbing Mt. Everest and the tragedy that happend May 10, 1996. I felt that Krakauer wrote the book to relay information and make people understand the dangers of high altitude climbing -- and perhaps try to release some of the demons that haunt him from his actions that day.
Into Thin Air is by far the better of the two books -- but I do agree that both books compliment each other. Everything that happens in this world is subjective. Let's just agree that what happend in May 1996 on Mt. Everest was a tragedy and should be remembered -- so it will never happen again.
am 2. Juli 2000
Yes, I agree with other reviewers that if you read Krakauer's Into Thin Air, you should read The Climb. It is told from the positon of a guide who went back into the storm on that fateful night and saved many lives. However, The Climb is definatly not as well written as Into Thin Air, and I got tried of Boukreeve's attemt at slamming Krakaur on every page. It just got repetitive hearing "Anatoli is a great climber," ect. Even on Boukreev's Everest map, he marks a spot that says, "This is the spot where Krakauer faultered and needed assistance on the descent." Now come on, thats neither nessessary or professional. It's a childish attempt at selling books. While I commend Boukreev for his heroic journey back into the storm to save climbers, I must also say that I agree with Krakauer on one point. Boukreev descended in front of his clients without stopping to assist any of them. He made a rushed descent to camp IV. Anyone who knows about mountaineering knows that this is an absolute no-no for moutain guides. Put the clients first! So Boukreev sat in camp IV while the clients he should have been assiting strugled outside. He did go back to save many clients, but there is a chance that even more lives may have been saved had he descended with climbers. Still, if you can ignore some attempts at slamming Krakauer's account, you will enjoy this book. By giving it 3 stars I am in no way saying its a bad book, it just does not live up to the standard set by Into Thin Air.
am 17. Oktober 2015
I got interested in this tragedy while watching the Everest movie. In the movie Anatoli Boukreev was depicted as the most experienced and courageous of all the guides. After reading lots of negative reviews (comparing the book from Krakauer - a journalist and an amateur who was also on the expedition but didn't help anyone even when asked directly) I was even more curious what was really behind all the criticisms. Generally, I prefer accounts of events by a professional rather than an amateur, because professionals simply have more experience and can forsee problems which escape amateurs (and also understand things better).
Before addressing criticisms, I liked the book very much. I found it a very captivating read an thought it was fantastic to glimpse into how a professional mountaineer is thinking.
The first criticism was the language of this book. I found this criticism really petty and unworty. I mean, seriously? This is an account of true events, not a poetry book. I found nothing much wrong with the English. So he/s a Khazahstani climber and doesn't speak English well. So what? The story is narrated for most part by a native speaker, there is just some of the original dialogue to illustrate the difficulties he had with communication on the mountains.
The second criticism of Boukeerev was that he climbed withot oxygen - not true - he took one bottle, but gave it to another guide who needed it badly.
The third criticism was that he rushed down the mountain. Would they rather he stayed on the mountain and died? Everyone who was rescued would die if he did that, because no one wanted to help him when he went to rescue other clients. I think his reasoning (clients were running out of oxygen, so he needed to get some) is logical and absolutely correct. He was the fastest after all. I think there are many people who could have done things differently, but not Boukeerev. He was professional througout.
I think a lot of these criticisms come from American personality - everyone must speak their language, when buying services, some think they buy their guides life ect.
Everest is a huge and dangerous mountain. People who are incapable to climb without fixed ropes or to take care of themselves or carry theor own gear/oxygen should never in the first place be let on the mountain. And hiring a guide doesn't mean he has to die for you. Human life cannot be bought (as a journalist on the expedition obviously thought). Why should a guide be dictated by clients to do things like his clients (with practically no clue what should be done) think it should be done? Bollocks...guides should be listened to.
But last of all, I think criticism of Boukeerev is simply wicked and most likely due to him being a foreigner = non English speaking. No American seems to criticised. I find that unfair. Boukeerev was simply considered by some only a sherpa, even though he was the most experienced guide of all three expeditions on the mountain on that day.
am 9. Juni 2000
As with most of the reviewers, I shall compare this book with Into Thin Air. I will echo the sentiments of others who say The Climb is not as well written or as lucid. It does, however, contain a good deal of information that is lacking in Krakaur's account.
I must differ from other reviewers in some points, however. I never felt that Krakaur blamed Boukreev overly harshly when reading Into Thin Air. After having read The Climb, I have not changed my opinion. The fault seems to lie with Mother Nature (and perhaps Hall and Fischer). I do, however, faintly echo the complaint of some reviewers of Into Thin Air with this book - it seems a little self-serving to me. Krakaur at least gave the appearance of being impartial, and this book has the disadvantage of being a rebuttal at times (both because it was written after and also because I read it after).
I recommend this book, but not solely on its own merits. As numerous mountaineers have pointed out, the brain doesn't work correctly at 9km of elevation, so reading multiple versions of the same story is necessary. This book certainly fills an important spot, but if you only read 1 account of this fateful Everest expedition, I would have to recommend Into Thin Air. BTW, the IMAX Everest film also has some good material on this trek, for those interested.
am 18. Juli 2000
I am a twenty five year old male with many passions. One of my largest passions lies among the stories and information I absorb about the beautiful and illusive Everest.
After reading the book I have only the deepest respect for Mr Anatoli Boukreev. The knowledge shared by Anatoli is through shear experience and love for the game. The true passion for what one loves often incourages us to exceed even our own expectations as shared with you in this story of confusion, chaos, and heroism.
Anatoli takes you on an emotional trip from the states to kathmandu and on to the top of the world. Although a great hero Anatoli and G. Weston DeWalt do an excellent job of maintaining a modest and humble story that reminds us of how even in the most chaotic of times one individual can rise above his/her own selflessness and survive on complete compassion to save another.
The naration by Anatoli himself is inspirational in itself. Anatoli is not the best with english, but is very precice and accurate in his descriptions which take you there.
I would simply like to thank Anatoli Boukreev for sharing his experience and passions with us. Truly an inspirational story of self will and love that shows what is in all if you can look beyond "I" and remember it is better to give than receive. An unconditional love.
am 6. Mai 2000
This is a book to be read in conjunction with Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. The Climb is not the smooth literary masterpiece woven by Krakauer and, reading like a raw chronological documentary, tends to catalogue detail at the expense of a clear overview of the situation. Told alternately, and often tautologically, by both DeWalt and Boukreev, the rival expedition's account emerges viscously from a disjointed amalgam of primary quotes. At times DeWalt's interaction with the mountaineering material sorely lacks the credibility and authority of one who was actually there. Though ostensibly clinging to Boukreev's own philosophy that no one factor can be blamed for the tragedy, DeWalt comes dangerously close to inappropriately vilifying Rob Hall's team whose slower and older members did indeed cause delays.
Krakauer left readers an impression of Boukreev as the guide who "cut and ran" at the critical time - acting as an irresponsible awkward individualist, inattentive of his clients. The Climb includes crucial correspondence between Boukreev and Outside magazine (for whom Krakauer was working) that fields Krakauer's criticisms, exposing his invalid arguments and lack of communication with Anatoli himself. The transcript of an interview with Boukreev about the rescue at the South Col, left in Anatoli's imperfect English, provides a gritty authentic insight into the chaotic situation at Camp IV during the storm and leaves me in awe at Boukreev's phenomenal strength, perseverance and selfless rescue efforts which are here (finally) paid their due.
Boukreev's self-reproach and deeply felt regret at being unable to save the lives also of Yasuko Namba and Scott Fischer find an outlet in the final chapters. In the Epilogue: Return To Everest - which unfortunately reads somewhat transparently as a promotional chapter for Anatoli's formidable skills as a 'mountain consultant' to the 1997 Indonesian Expedition - he wrenchingly pays tribute to the storm victims.
Essential reading for anyone with a personal interest in Boukreev's reputation, The Climb restores his actions to the heroic status which they undoubtedly merited. What the tale lacks in literary skill it makes up for by industriously creating a three-dimensional and believable image of Boukreev that astounds. "I am not a superman" (p244), writes Anatoli. After reading this book I would have to disagree.
am 15. Februar 2000
I bought this book with high expectations. Many Amazon reviewers have praised it, insisting that it's even better than "Into Thin Air." But now that I've read it, I don't understand those readers who gave it 5 stars. The writing is absolutely wretched. Boukreev and DeWalt have done the seemingly impossible: Taken a gripping tale of life and death on the world's highest mountain and made it a boring exercise in self-promotion.
The relentless bashing of Krakauer was fairly entertaining for a while (I enjoy schadenfreude as much as the next girl), but DeWalt badly overplays this hand, and by the end of the book his incessant criticisms of Krakauer, and his excessive praise of Boukreev, had the opposite of their intended effect. "The Climb" struck me as a transparently dishonest book. I was enlightened to read the comments from the reviewer below who revealed that Boukreev's publisher, St. Martin's Press, has a reputation for publishing books of dubious credibility.
Before you swallow DeWalt's cynical claims, read the updated chapter at the end of the new 1999 papaperback edition of "Into Thin Air." It confirmed all my worst suspicions about the trustworthiness of "The Climb."
am 8. Februar 2000
This could have been, and should have been, an amazing book. Boukreev was one of the world's best high-altitude climbers. As "The Climb" repeats over and over again, he was also the main hero of the 1996 Everest tragedy. But Boukreev made a really bad choice when he teamed up with G. DeWalt to tell his story. Part of the problem is that DeWalt is simply an awful writer, prone to rely on clichés and overstatement. The book is too often a chore to plod through, due to DeWalt's amateurish prose and smug tone of voice. But a greater problem is that DeWalt baldly manipulates facts in an attempt to make Boukreev appear to totally beyond fault, and to make it look like Krakauer wrote "Into Thin Air" to intentinally slander Boukreev.
Boukreev acted courageously, but he also made some poor decisions, and it was a mistake for DeWalt to try to claim otherwise. DeWalt's insistence that Boukreev was a perfect saint, and a victim of a smear campaign by Krakauer, made me question his credibility in a major way. The thing that convinced me that DeWalt is not trustworthy was reading the latest paperback edition of "Into Thin Air" (I'd read the hardback when it first came out in 1997). The new edition of Krakauer's book has a fresh postscript that provides an extremely convincing rebuttal to "The Climb." There is no question that DeWalt twisted key facts to make his points, and to drum up controversy. I got the distinct feeling that by invoking Krakauer's name at every opportunity (Krakauer's name even appears on the cover of "The Climb"!), DeWalt and his publsiher were shamelessly trying to cash-in on the success of "Into Thin Air." DeWalt's shady tactics no doubt garnered attention for "The Climb," but it revealed him to be a writer of questionable ethics, and tainted Boukreev by association.
It's worth nothing that the publisher of "The Climb" is St. Martin's Press, a company with a well-deserved reputation for publishing books of dubious credibility. For example, St. Martin's recently published a sensational biography of George W. Bush to much fan-fare, and then had to recall and destroy 70,000 copies after it was revealed that the author was a convicted murderer who fabricated what he wrote. "The Climb," in my view, should be read with this in mind.
There is some very interesting material in this book, nevertheless. For people like me who are fascinated by the moral dimensions of the Everest disaster, it is a must-read. But don't take it as the literal truth. And be sure to read the new edition of "Into Thin Air" as a companion volume. Bear in mind that aach book is simply one man's version of a very complex event. Both books no doubt get things wrong, and both books work to present their respective authors in the best possible light. But it is obvious that Krakauer is a much more careful, much more even-handed, much more believable journalist than DeWalt. The sad thing is, Boukreev didn't need someone like DeWalt to twist the truth for him. He didn't need this book to be so defensive. Boukreev, may he rest in peace, did nothing to be ashamed of. He saved lives. He had an astonishing story to tell. It is most unfortunate that he didn't choose a more capable writer to tell his story for him.