The real mountaineer's story behind the fatal Everest climbs of Into Thin Air.
After reading this book I have an awful lot of admiration for Anatoli Bourkreev. The heroic effort he made to rescue as many eople off that mountain must never be forgotten.
The Climb is split into effectively 2 books. The first explains how Antoli was chosen for the expedition, the preparation that was involved and also the detail of what actually happened when the two teams of Rob Hall and Scott Fischer got tangled deep into the death zone.
The 2nd part of the book is spent justifying Anatoli's decisions, and defending the wild and mostly misdirected accusations directed at him by Jon Krakauer. This in it's self is very important, but unfortunately the same accusations are covered time and time again, but only from a different perspective. I found myself willing to get to the end of the book for this reason, which did slightly ruin the whole book for me.
Please make your own mind up, but be warned that the last half of the book can become a little tedious.
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 on Everest in 1996 and had a pivotal role in the tragic events that unfolded on the mountain. Boukreev provides an insider's view of the Mountain Madness expedition itself and of the preparations that 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 his successful summit bid, rather than remain with the expedition's clients, or whether he was just following the orders of the expedition leader, Scott Fischer, who himself was one of those who died on Everest in 1996, is an issue that will long be debated in mountaineering circles. There is no doubt, however, that Boukreev did, in fact, singlehandedly rescue three climbers during a raging blizzard; climbers who without his intervention would have died. Given the extreme weather conditions, his solo foray up the mountain to rescue climbers in 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, he died in an avalanche on Annapurna. RIP.