The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest
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The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  6,024 ratings  ·  329 reviews
As the climbers of the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster vanished into thin air, one man had the courage to bring them down alive...

On May 10, 1996, two commercial expeditions headed by expert leaders attempted to scale the world's largest peak. But things went terribly wrong. Crowded conditions, bad judgement, and a bitter storm stopped many climbers in their tracks. Others were...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published July 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1997)
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A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonThe Magic Mountain by Thomas MannThe Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest HemingwaySoul Mountain by Gao XingjianThe Climb by Anatoli Boukreev
Mountains
5th out of 134 books — 53 voters
Into Thin Air by Jon KrakauerThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienHades' Disciples by Michael  WestKilimanjaro and Beyond by Barry FinlayNo Way Down by Graham Bowley
Worshipping Mountains
10th out of 71 books — 19 voters


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Community Reviews

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Myke
Dec 19, 2007 Myke rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of the mountain
Shelves: nonfiction, sport
Anatoli is the man..., or was I should say.
I've read a lot of comments others have written about this book, and how many people say that Krakauer's book is so much more entertaining and blah blah blah.... I look for validity in non-fiction. I happen to believe a man who's been climbing since he was a teenager and has the resume that Bourkreev has, he also seems to be a man of more action than words. Lets not forget that Krakauer is a writer and has to sell books.
Anatoli deserves more credit th...more
Sarah
After having read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, I had an impression of this particular Everest expedition that, as I have found out, is completely erroneous. Mr. Krakauer unjustly and inexcusably defamed Anatoli Boukreev by painting a false picture of an event that took the lives of five individuals and left many others ravaged and haunted. This book, The Climb, presents information as gathered by the Everest team itself and Mr. Boukreev’s account of this expedition.

Not only was Anatoli Boukre...more
Heather
Interesting to see the counter-story, but without a doubt, Krakauer's has far more factual backing and truthfully presented research. This book was self-serving to a point of failing factually (and that is DeWalt's fault, not Boukreev's)...

Since many people reviewing this book are using the space to argue Boukreevs skill and character, incorrectly assuming that this validates his account, I wanted to address some of those ideas.

Some reviewers are failing to realize a few very important things,...more
John
A fascinating account of what happened on Mount Everest in May of 1996. Written in response to Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" Anatoli Booukreev defends his climbing without oxygen and going on ahead of his team to reach the summit. His best reply, I thought, was his answer to Krakauer's criticism about not using oxygen. When the stragglers did not show up at base camp, Boukreev describes how he went back out into the white out and saved several people, while Krakauer simply went to sleep in his...more
Eric_W
I love reading about mountain climbing even though wanting to be the one-thousandth person to climb and having fixed ropes and ladders laid out by underpaid third-world sherpas hardly seems like a valid way to spend $70,000. Now Mallory's attempt is something else entirely. (I'm reading Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.)I read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster and very much liked it.

This book was presented by some a...more
Lotte
I am glad that Boukreev had a chance to share his perspective on the 1996 Everest tragedy before he died. Many reviewers on goodreads commented on the more tedious style of this book compared to Into Thin Air. I thoroughly enjoyed it, reading it in 2 sittings. Boukreev's climbing and summiting experience make this a fascinating look at many details of an Everest climb. Although Bookreev does not share his personal life directly, the reader learns much about him through his conversations, decisio...more
Bryan
Jul 03, 2010 Bryan added it
The other side of a well-known story: Every story has two sides. In this book, readers of Jon Krakauer's best selling Into Thin Air can hear the other side of that particular tale. It's my opinion that no one ought to read one without also reading the other.

On May 10, 1996, a winter storm decided to attack the world's highest mountain in spring. Caught in the well-named Death Zone, so high above sea level that the bodies of climbers who linger there literally start to die, the members of two co...more
Ballpoint-arcade
Apparently prosciutto without fat is like a kiss without a cuddle. I reckon reading ‘Into Thin Air’ without ‘The Climb’, would be like watching a David Attenborough documentary without the volume turned up. Sure you get the images and you can sort of figure out that something important is happening to the sleeping newt as it’s been on screen for thirty minutes. But you miss out on Attenborough’s docile tones giving rich insights into why it’s so important that the newt just flicked its tail. Is...more
Mikko
"The Climb" tells the story of the 1996 Everest disaster, in which a series of bad decisions and coincidences led to the deaths of 5 climbers, among them Rob Hall and Scott Fishcer, who were among the best in their professions. The focus of the narrative is the experience of Russian guide Anatoli Boukreev. To understand "The Climb" one pretty much needs to also have read "Into Thin Air", another account of the disaster authored by Jon Krakauer, who was also among those involved. In his work, Kra...more
Karl
This book by G. Weston DeWalt and Anatoly Boukreev is an excellent description of the facts surrounding the Fischer and Hall expeditions to Everest in May 1996. De Walt does an excellent job of chronicling events and clearing up discrepancies caused by other authors.

Anatoly Boukreev is a hero who saved several people's lives that day. He was unfairly and unjustly criticized by other authors seeking to find a villian that day.

The villians were the weather, consisting of a storm that blew up from...more
Kate
Ran across this book and had to pick it up. Read it in about 48 hours, despite life getting in the way here and there, I could not put this book down. Some have said Jon Kraukaur's book "Out of Thin Air" is far more interesting, possibly so as he was a professional writer and looked more to write to entertain and sell, this book was written to correct some misinformation put forward in Kraukaur's book. I didn't rate this high because its a great piece of literature -- its not, the writing is cho...more
Kate
I read this one after Into Thin Air because I knew there was some controversy created by Krakauer's version of events. This book was definitely interesting as a way to fill in the gaps, and also as an example of a different approach to telling the story of the 1996 Everest disaster.

This book is often described as more "technical," but really it's just a lot more focused on describing the sequence of events. Where Krakauer's book inhabits a middle ground between talking about a transformative per...more
Marvelle Morgan
Probably a 3 1/2 star book if that were an option.

I found the account fascinating. I have just read Krakauer's account "Into Thin Air" and liked reading both sides of the story and having some gaps filled in by reading both accounts.

Krakauer's account is easier to read and more entertaining. I also felt that Boukreev's account is more defensive (which maybe it ought to be in response to Krakauer's).

However, I respect Boukreev as a client but don't feel he made the best guide. Some of his "heroic...more
Rebecca
I was told to read this book after I finished "Into Thin Air"-and I am glad I did. It has been said by some reviewers that Boukreev was written as a sort of villain by Krakauer. A man who was supposed to be guiding a group of amateur climbers to the summit of Everest. According to Krakauer, he decided to leave his climbers at or near the summit and descend toward camp-thereby not giving his charges the particular guidance they may have needed to avoid disaster. This book tells Boukreev's side of...more
Ob-jonny
This is another account of the 1996 Everest expedition and ensuing disaster. The writer, Anatoli Boukreev was one of the guides on the Mountain Madness expedition without Jon Krakauer, and it gives more detailed information about this other group of very interesting people. Another way that it differs from Jon Krak's book is that it gives detailed stories about the months before the Everest climb when the guides had to go early and set things up with the Sherpas. It gives an account of the climb...more
Prashanth Vaidyaraj
The 1996 Everest disaster made famous by 'Into thin air' by Jon Krakauer has its share of biases and wrong depiction of events, including the role of Anatoly Boukareev who was shown in poor light in the book as relinquishing responsibility and as not one who risked self to save others. However, the accounts of others on the climb that very day and interviews of other team members throw a different picture, that of a helpful Boukareev who not only risked his life but also saw that he aids people...more
Shannon
A very interesting read on the tragic events on Everest in May of 1996 by one of the guides who was there and survived.

I would strongly recommend reading this book if you have already read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. Reading these two together does a number of things: 1) gives a balance to the stories coming off of the mountain 2) demonstrates how 2 people in the same place witnessing the same event can have such different takes on it, and 3)really demonstrates how much altitude can affect yo...more
Erin
If you read and loved Into Thin Air, you must read The Climb! This book is Anatoli Boukreev's response to Krakauer's criticisms of him in his novel. After reading Into Thin Air, you're left thinking Boukreev is an eccentric daredevil who took unnecessary risks while on Everest. Boukreev's response, while not angry/whiny or otherwise unnecessarily defensive, paints a different story. A great book to read, especially if you've already read Into Thin Air!
Cryselle
This was just tragic- just as in Krakauer's book, the disaster could be seen looming, although, with better luck, it could have all worked out right, too. How many Everest expeditions teeter on the knife point between success and failure? All of them? Most of them?

Admittedly, I read this primarily because Jon Krakauer painted such a bleak portrait of Boukreev in "Into Thin Air," which I read several years ago. Even then it seemed to me that Boukreev was used as a scapegoat- I didn't see much bal...more
Matthew
Good insight into the Everest tragedy of 1996 from the viewpoint Anatoli Boukreev, the Mountain Madness expedition guide who was villified by Jon Krakauer in his novel Into Thin Air. The book debunks claims that Boukreev acted irresponsibly and self-servingly (even while saving every one of his clients) when two expeditions intermingle for the final summit of the mountain. The mix of inexperienced climbers and the slow pace of the Adventure Consultants expedition combined with an ill-timed rogue...more
Maggie
People mostly associate the '96 Everest tragedy with Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air, which boldly touts Anatoli Boukreev as selfish and neglectful so it is no surprise that Boukreev wanted to clear his name with his own view of the incident. In essence, this book is a detailed rebuttal to Into Thin Air. I don't blame anyone for wanting to dispute his/her own smear campaign and there is a lot of fascinating grit to the story, unlike Beck Weathers' weak Left for Dead. The details are amazing, e...more
Jocelynne Broderick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arah-Leah Hay
After reading "Into Thin Air" I found myself obsessed with Mt.Everest. I couldn't stop reading about it, checking facts up to date and looking at photographs and video coverage. Fascinating! Of course this led me to "The Climb". There is always two sides to a story and I think you shouldn't read either of these books without the other. Although Krakauer's version I found to be more fluid I was still completely captivated by Boukreev's sequence of events that night. It definitely gives much insig...more
Matt
Overall a good account of what happened on the 1996 Fischer (Mountain Madness) Everest expedition - statements seem to be corroborated and backed up with other sources. I find it ironic that the Fischer expedition group, where one person died, got all the attention in this and other books, while the Hall expedition group, where three people died, got little to no attention. The fact that Anatoli's biggest detractor was Krakauer certainly seems to suggest that Krakauer is trying to focus attentio...more
Elyssa
Having read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, I figured reading this book about the same 1996 Everest climbing tragedy would be repetitive. I was pleasantly surprised to gain a whole new perspective on the event. Anatoli Boukreev was a guide for the Mountain Madness team. Krakauer was a client on a different team. Boukreev's experience is that of a mountaineering expert and employee of a novice adventure businnessman. Hearing his interpretation of the events challenges Krakauer's portrayal of the tr...more
Keith
This is an awesome book. It doesnt read like like a dramatic novel the way that Krakauer's book does, but I found the insight into what goes into planning and executing a guided trip to the top of Mt. Everest fascinating.

It also gives Anatoli Boukreev his chance to counter Krakauer's charges that he was largely to blame for the deaths in their groups. As he points out: Only one person on his team died and that was the team leader who stayed high on the mountain for far to long to tag the summit...more
Rhys
May 15, 2008 Rhys rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Everest
Shelves: true-stories
2.5 stars:
This is another personal account of the disasterous 1996 season on Everest which John Krakauer wrote about in "Into Thin Air". A lot of people died and there was a lot of controversy surrounding some of the statements made in Krakauer's book and statements made by others about the actions of guides on the mtn and the way events unfurled. Anatoli Boukreev is a professional climber and guide who was in the thick of it and while he is very informative and insightful, the book is slow goin...more
Liz B
I read Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster several years ago and found it fascinating, so I picked this one up at a used bookstore. Reading it was an odd experience, as it is so clearly a response to Into Thin Air much more than it is a standalone book. It had been so long since I had read Krakauer's book that I wasn't always sure what this was responding to.

So after reading it, I re-read Into Thin Air and a lot more became clear. There are some explicit and implied cri...more
Kelly
I read The Climb immediately following Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. It was fascinating to read another perspective on the same situation (Everest disaster in 1996) from a man who saved the lives of other climbers. While Krakauer went to Everest in an attempt to write about the commercialization of the mountain, it is Boukreev, a true professional mountain climber, who really tells that story. To me, nothing sums it up better than this, talking about Boukreev:

"Up and down the mountain, during hi...more
Laura Brown
For all of Jon Krakauer's condemnation of The Climb, I actually found it to be an enjoyable read. I can't speak to the veracity of any statements made, but I can't for the life of me understand why Krakauer would intentionally defame Boukreev unless something he did was suspect - Krakauer just has no incentive to, he wasn't even part of the same expedition. Either way, The Climb provides an additional perspective on the 1996 Everest disaster, and provided insight into the Mountain Madness expedi...more
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“Mountains have the power to call us into their realms and there, left forever, are our friends whose great souls were longing for the heights. Do not forget the mountaineers who have not returned from the summits.” 2 likes
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