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The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  14,609 ratings  ·  739 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
Paperback, 297 pages
Published July 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1997)
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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
Petra wonders how life without books would be?
Contrast this with Krakauer's Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster (view spoiler) where he slags off Boukreev as a guide who put his own ambitions first and didn't do enough to save people in the disaster that was the 1996 climbing seaon on Everest. What respect I had for Krakauer (limited because he was ve ...more
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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,
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A study of the 1996 disaster at Mt. Everest, when climbers were stranded and several died.

In 1996, it seemed like almost anyone could climb Everest, as the guides had the whole thing down to a science. It was becoming little more than just another adventure tour. Then Mother Nature took a hand.

There was too much ambition and hubris. They forgot that Everest is a very dangerous place. They paid the price.

A very good examination of the whys and wherefores.
Joy D
Non-fiction about the tragedy on Mt. Everest in May, 1996. It focuses on two expeditions and the elements that led to death on the South face. I had previously read Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer’s account of the disaster, which implicates Anatoli Boukreev’s actions as a contributing factor to the fatalities. Krakauer was a client-climber on the Adventure Consultants expedition and Boukreev was a guide on the Mountain Madness team. At the time I made a mental note to read The Climb to find out Bouk ...more
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
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
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mountaineering
If the 1996 Everest disaster is the most famous mountaineering tragedy in history behind the death of Mallory and Irvine, it is so probably due to the efforts of one man - Jon Krakauer, with his article and book about the tragedy, Into thin air. In that book, Krakauer describes the tragedy that befell the climbers on May 10 1996 from his viewpoint as a climber in the Adventure Consultants team. During the book he has some not-so-kind things to say about Anatoli Boukreev, who was a guide for Scot ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read John Krakauer's Into Thin Air a couple of years ago and although the actual climbing sequences were gripping, I was really annoyed at the judgemental descriptions specifically of Anatoli Boukreev. I've put off reading this book because I expected this to be part two of a mudslinging contest. I was pleasantly surprised that for most of the book the conflict with Krakauer was not a topic.

The book recounts events based on information available from many other sources and adds Boukreev's com
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 03, 2010 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 c
It's been years since I read this book, but I distinctly remember being immediately drawn into this real-life account of the tragic events of the 1996 climbing expeditions on Mt. Everest, told by Anatoli Boukreev, a guide responsible for leading some of those climbers to safety. It's a great companion book to Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer, to get a different perspective on the same events.

★★★★ ½ Stars
Rebecca McPhedran
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
Marvelle Morgan
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
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
I read this book a bit less than a year after finishing Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer). It was a little hard to read about these tragic events again but I think it's important to read this book as well as Into Thin Air. You get a very different perspective - Anatoli was a guide, Krakauer was a client with nothing close to the experience Anatoli had (in high altitude mountaineering).
In Into thin Air Anatoli is painted as the "bad guy" but in fact he was a hero who saved three lives while seriously
Nov 04, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jocelynne Broderick
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dmitry Khvatov
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good read.
Siobhan Ward
Jul 06, 2021 rated it liked it

I read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air a couple of years ago, so it only felt fair to read this one - essentially a rebuttal from Anatoli Bourkreev, the guide by Krakauer of running back to camp ahead of the clients he was guiding, rather than helping them, among other things.

This book was definitely written to be a lot less sensational than Krakauer's - it's a lot less focused on the disaster itself and more focused on the build up to the disaster and Boukreev's rescue attempts. It's definit
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is more than anything a rebuttal to Jon Krakauer's excellent Into Thin Air. Both tell the story of the especially lethal season on Mt Everest in 1996 when several guides and their clients were killed in a freak blizzard (as freakish as you can say such things are on the world's highest mountain which, not all that freakish really.)

This book isn't bad exactly as it was nice to hear Boukreev's story who, while not portrayed negatively in Krakauer's book, wasn't always portrayed in a flat
4.25 stars.

This is an account of the climb up Mount Everest in 1996 that resulted in tragedy when a storm came up during the descent from the summit. Anatoli Boukreev was a guide with Scott Fischer’s group, and in Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air, he was not portrayed favourably.

Boukreev’s account of what happened gives an explanation for his actions on the mountain, so it helps fill in some blanks. It is definitely a worthwhile read to see another side of what happened and to balance out Kra
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, frozen
Mt. Everest. Snow, wind, biting cold, rocks, and impossibly thin air that mockingly laughs at the Rocky Mountains.

I know there's a movie about this disaster coming up. I read Into Thin Air and had to keep reading. This is a good rebuttal to Jon Krakauer's inference that Anatoli Boukreev was not doing his job as a guide. I wasn't there (thank goodness!) so I have only these two accounts to go on. I can't tell you who is right and who is wrong but I can tell, from both of these books, human mistak
Prashanth Vaidyaraj
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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Anatoli Nikolaevich Boukreev was a mountaineer from Russia.

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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.” 8 likes
“When I asked him what he thought, Neal said, 'Anatoli, many of our members are at high altitude for the first time, and they don't understand many of the simple things. They want us to hold their hands through everything.' I replied simply, saying that was an absurd position. I repeated again my concerns that we had to encourage self-reliance, and that our contributions to fixing ropes, getting the route ready, were just as important. About this Neal disagreed, saying that we had enough Sherpas to do this job. I told Neal that I thought, judging by our current situation, we were going to fall behind in the establishment of our high-altitude camps and our acclimatization routines could be compromised.” 2 likes
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