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AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH...
on 1 December 2002
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 that 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 reaching the summit, 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.