Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer
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Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  224 ratings  ·  21 reviews
When Anatoli Boukreev died on the slopes of Annapurna on Christmas day, 1997, the world lost one of the greatest adventurers of our time.

In Above the Clouds, both the man and his incredible climbs on Mt. McKinley, K2, Makalu, Manaslu, and Everest-including his diary entries on the infamous 1996 disaster, written shortly after his return-are immortalized. There also are min...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 20th 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2001)
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Anatoli Bourkreev is known to American readers chiefly as the "heavy" in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, which told of the infamous 1996 disaster on Mount Everest. That book portrayed Boukreev as the selfish guide who put his own summit aspirations above the welfare of the clients he was hired to care for. Krakauer's book does admit that after reaching the summit, Boukreev performed heroically, saving three lives by being couragous and strong enough to go out into a storm when every other climber...more
This book remedies the false image portrayed by Jon Krakauer in his book Into Thin Air. Jon Krakauer got it wrong. If you want to know more about the man selfishly depicted in the aforementioned book, check out this or his rebuttal to Into Thin Air, The Climb. This book helped me understand the psyche of a person who continually puts his life at danger by climbing 8,000ers. More than other mountaineering books, Boukreev shares details the non-Himalayan climbers long for. Boukreev shares a lot of...more
After reading Krakauer's Into Thin Air, it is so good to know the real story about Anatoli, when reading Above the Clouds!

He is a good honest individual and I respect the way he does things and also his attitude.

He writes as if to take you along on his journeys on the mountains.

And he was not a bad guide.

He just guided the way he knew how.

It was different from some standards.

I could even say Scott Fischer could have had a hand in it; he did not spell out the expectations he had of Anatoli. Also,...more
This may be my favorite climbing book. Boukreev's introspective life, shared in journals, then translated and published posthumously, is rich with reflections on climbing, life, and the Russian soul. From the athletic training centers of the USSR to Mount McKinley in Alaska to the highest peaks of the Himalayas, Boukreev finds both questions and meaning wherever he is led.
This is the real Boukreev. That is how he should be remembered.
If anyone wants to understsand why we climb, why we strive to be on the top above the clouds this is one of the best book to go with.
Forget about the 1996 "controversy" and all the other human noisy stuff. This is a different level altogether.
'Un posto in cielo' è molto di più di una raccolta di diari e reseconti di spedizioni e scalate. E' letteratura di montagna, ai livelli che solo Messner (a parer mio) è riuscito a raggiungere.
Le descrizioni delle spedizioni sono sempre oggettive e ponderate, non c'è spazio per emotività e teatralità, mentre intere pagine sono dedicate a riflessioni sulla vita, sul senso di una passione, quella per le montagne, che è così difficile da spiegare, soprattutto a chi non è mai stato lassù, nella zona...more
"Returning to the Everest region always brings me a feeling of relief, for I love the mountains...Such majesty is humbling, and one is reminded of how small humans are in the scheme of things."

This book inspires me for its honesty and its passion. Anatoli Boukreev shared his life as a world-class high-altitude mountaineer. He grappled with the loss of national identity as the USSR collapses in the late 1980's. His love for mountaineering continued, and in his notes and journals, he longed for th...more
This book did little to change my opinion of how Anatoli Boukreev handled himself on Everest in 1996. It was an insightful book about life in communist Russia and the impact the fall had on all walks of life. It was interesting to see how he was pulled into leading climbing teams and being a guide as a means to finance his own climbs. While highly talented, intuitive and extremely aware of the dangers at high altitude, I don't think Anatoli Boukreev was cut out for leading and guiding expedition...more
John Charles
Through a series of journal entries, Anatoli Boukreev describes his adventures with much thought and emotion which allows the reader to see the real person that he was, not what was portrayed in other publications that described the various tragedies. It's also quite interesting to see how spirituality and politics influenced Boukreev's career and beliefs when it came to mountaineering as it almost gives the reader a sense that they are speaking directly to Boukreev. While this book does not foc...more
Andrew Lugg
Fascinating observations by one of the most talented and accomplished mountaineers of our time. Boukreev's ruminations on the physical and mental burdens of high-altitude environments are balanced by his appreciation of alpine sublimity, which, in a way, is what we all seek when we journey to earth's high places. The book is also worthwhile as an account of a man who struggled to find his identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union and who was forced to confront new economic realities amid g...more
David Ward
Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer by Anatoli Boukreev (St. Martin's Press 2001)(796.522). This volume consists entirely of selections from the personal diary and the reminiscences of world-class high altitude climber Anatoli Boukreev. A Russian native, he was one of the guides on Everest in 1996 with Scott Fisher's "Mountain Madness" expedition when tragedy struck, killing several climbers. His diary entry is contained herein. These are wonderful stories; sadly, there...more
Ben Wood
I did not read the entire volume, but a few journal entries here and there. By Galen Rowell's intro and some of the other background material, this seemed more like a reaction to the negative publicity that Boukreev got from Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." It was interesting to see how this elite Russian mountaineer was amazed by the assortment of top-notch gear available at stores and how "weak" American bread it. Some of his poetry was actually very good (I'm thinking of the poem at the end) and c...more
The memoirs of a gentle, lovely, spiritual person and outstanding athlete. If you only know the distorted view of him from the popular press around the 1996 Everest tragedy, this book gives true insight into his character. What a loss that he died so young.

(This is a better book than The Climb.)
The life story on the amazing life and high altitude climbing career of Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian climber. Climbed most of the top 10 tallest mountains on the planet, multiple times. This book also adds important perspective to the book, Into Thin Air. A great read.
Crystal Greek
Exhilarating, thought-provoking book that ushers in much consideration of dreams, priorities, and inner peace. The descriptions of the landscapes and conditions at high altitude are vivid and stunning, the loss of life in the wake of ambition very sad.
I enjoyed learning about the collapse of the Soviet Union, the politics of climbing, rescue attempts, and being personally responsible for conditioning.
I have read many accounts of mountain summiting, and this book tied many of them together.
Apr 07, 2008 Abram rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Abram by: amazon
This is another good mountaineering read, about the life of one of the most respectable high altitude mountaineers of the 1990's. It is worth the read and exploration into the climbing world of Russia.
I loved this book! Truly remarkable. I have never been so emotionally attached to an individual. The ending is very sad and unexpected. Anatoli is an inspiration.
A brilliant portrayal of the 'tiger woods' of high altitude mountaineering and an inspirational read. So tragic that Toli was lost so young.
I got this, along with 'The Climb' yesterday so these are next on my list. Weeeeeeeee!!

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