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on July 29, 2016
After watching the 2015 Everest film I became a sponge for all things about the 1996 Everest tragedy watching 4 documentaries, reading Jon Krakauer and Lou Kasischke's books. Just finished The Climb (TC) a few hours ago and loved it.

For those who do not know this book discuses the 1996 tragedy on Everest that befell two climbing teams. Krakauer's book (into thin air [ITA]) is usually regarded by the public as the main source of what happened on the mountain. In that book Krakauer was critical to Anatoli who then released this book to defend himself and his actions (by not using supplemental oxygen and for descending the mountain rapidly before the team). I felt bad that Anatoli got a bad wrap for 1996 when he risked his own life several times to save other climbers.

This is a great read for any Everest junkies and is really the only main book that shows what happened on the Mountain Madness team (Krakauer and Lou's books are from the other teams POV). The book offers some really good insight into Scott Fischer and the other MM climbers. IMHO it also clearly explain why Anatoli did not use supplemental oxygen as well as why he did a rapid descent.

The first 60% of the book covers 1996. The next chapter details his next expedition back up Everest and how he made make-shift graves for Scott and Yasuko Namba as well as took their small effects to give back to their families. Classy move imho.

The last 30% of the book is a group transcript of the MM group discussing the tragedy shortly after it happened and is a great read.

I am not going to get into who is right or wrong and will let you decide for yourself. All I will say is that this is a great read and if you read Krakauer's book you are only getting 1 side of the story. imo all three books should be read as they are all great reads but also from three distinct POVs.

Notes:
Worth The Money: Yes! (easily)
Would I Recommend It: Yes!
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on December 20, 2016
A thoughtful take on the ill-fated Everest expedition of 1996. Far better than Jon Krakouer's self-serving account of the same expedition. It's far beyond being a straightforwqard adventure book on climbing (thought you can read it this way if you want). It's a study of personalities under pressure and group dynamics. The facts and material would be worthy of a Harvard Business School case study on the behavior of small groups, both internally and in their interactions with other small groups. Think Shackleton, but with a different outcome. A wide range of readers could be both entertained and educated by this account.
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on October 26, 2016
Conclusive work, as Anatoli is no longer among us. Gives a magnificent inside view on what it takes to be a high altitude climber that lives to tell the story. G. Weston DeWalt has done a great job here as the (co)writer. The total enterprise from preparations to leaving the site is covered. You do not have to be a mountaineer to be able to read this book, it is all clarified and all points are covered to secure that it would be a clear and gripping story. This is a book to read and re-read. There are but a few books that I keep over mountaineering, this is one. Great read!
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on November 10, 2015
Coming out of reading Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air', I felt it was important to read the story from Boukreev's side. This is an absolutely fascinating read from the perspective of the professional climber/guide, and I really appreciate how he explains the choices that he made.

The part I could do without is the high school drama between Krakauer and DeWalt in their postscripts, which in my opinion is nothing more than an attempt to sensationalize the story to increase their book sales. I'm very interested to read about how each came to their conclusions, but I couldn't care less about the name calling.
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on April 11, 2016
I am currently very interested in the Everest tragedy and as part of that, I am reading as many memoirs of the event as possible. I already knew about the existing conflict between Krakauer’s (Into Thin Air) and Anatoli’s memoir but I wanted to give them both a chance to voice their opinions.

I truly loved reading Boukreev’s memoir. He provided an inside look at mountain climbing that I had not been aware of before. The main portion of the book is simply describing events as he remembers them. He doesn’t place blame on anybody for what occurred that day and he doesn’t question that actions of others (like a certain Jerkauer does in his book). It appears that he just wants to have his voice heard and to share his story about what happened. He also wanted to pay tribute to those who lost their lives that day. Scott Fischer and Rob Hall were very important people in the commercialization of mountain climbing and this tragedy affected Boukreev deeply, as well asthe loss of Namba, who Boukreev felt deep personal guilt over.

In this version of the book, there are several documents after the book actually ends which are interesting to read. An In Memoriam for Boukreev who passed away in 1997 and a few responses to Krakauer’s book. Krakauer does not come off well in this part. It’s very respectfully done, but to me, Krakauer comes off as kind of like an arrogant baby. What we have to remember with these memoirs, is that it is all memories. At that altitude and given the events of the day, memories can become eschewed. It’s very likely that these men remembered the story differently, but to them, it was the truth.

Overall, this was a very interesting read. I loved hearing Boukreev’s perspective on the events and about his experiences both that day and otherwise. He’s not the bad guy, and he felt he was represented in that way and this gave him an opportunity to show that he’s not. He’s responsible for having saved at least 3 people that day. That doesn’t sound like a bad guy to me. If you’re interested in the Everest disaster, this should definitely be one of the memoirs that you check out!
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on April 10, 2016
Truly great read. The author interviewed Mr. Boukreev extensively and even had long sections of Anatolys own words. I liked the style, he never put words in his mouth. He clearly credited Anatoly when he "spoke". The book gives a great view of the 1996 Everest tragedy from anther viewpoint (Not John Krakaur's) and clearly gives Anatoly a chance to point out what he felt had happened.
I read it while wind bound at 5500 Meters while climbing Aconcagua. My partner read it also along with one of the Italians. Everyone really enjoyed it. It's a treasured possession..
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on March 2, 2015
Boukreev's climbing and summiting experience make this a fascinating look at many details of an Everest climb. 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.There were no villans, there just people who paid $70,000, didn't belong on the mountain, didn't understand the importance of turn around time, or the simple trurth that the guides coudn't carry them back down, and the climb to the Everest is two way journey (up and down), the western privilege will ultimatly have to do on their own,
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on January 15, 2012
I'm not `into' climbing books but I do enjoy reading tales of humans striving against the odds. Having read Jon Krakauers book Into Thin Air about the unfortunate events of the 1996 climbing season on Everest it seemed appropriate to read the account of the same climb by Anatoli Boukreev (written with G. Weston DeWalt).

Those in the know will understand that Krakauer was quite damning of Boukreevs decisions on the climb that saw several deaths amongst climbers and several others permanently damaged by frostbite. This book is in many ways Boukreevs right of reply. Hence it's a book you really should read if you've read Krakauers account to which I'll take the liberty of comparing it to directly for much of this review given they seem somehow intertwined.

As to the book itself: The writing style is not as breezy as the Krakauer work. That books writing style is breezy and easily digested. The Climb on the other hand comes across as more stilted. Now I don't blame Boukreev for that, after all he would have been a native Russian speaker presumably and his real talent seems to have been as a great mountaineer - one of the finest of his generation in fact. So no, it is DeWalt that must bear the brunt of my criticism of pointing out how the book does not flow and demands a more indulgent reader.

The Climb assists the reader with a few useful maps and a clutch of photos that tend to humanise things somewhat. And similarly to the Krakauer book there is plenty of praise for the commitment, bravery and tenacity of many of the members of the various expeditions. There is also a heck of a lot of respect for the simple fact that there is so little margin for error or ill luck in the extreme areas of the planet.

On the other side of the ledger The Climb does enunciate rather well an alternate telling of the events of 1996 and does greatly allow for the reader to get a fuller understanding of some of the issues facing the expedition and the way things unravelled so tragically. The book goes into the thinking of Boukreev who was obviously one of the fittest and most important members of either the Fischer or Hall teams and certainly a man of great bravery and whatever your view of some of his decisions (after reading both books) several people must owe their lives to a quietly stoic and very self contained man who while perhaps not a `people person' took his duties seriously as a matter of personal honour.

One aspect of this work I didn't like was the long epilogue discussing the ongoing feud between Krakauers and Boukreevs telling of events. Boukreev himself succumbed to an avalanche while climbing in Nepal on Christmas Day, 1997. One the one hand his passing should have caused Krakauer to `pull his head in' as we say in Australia, but despite his protestations that it was his duty to do continue to repudiate things Krakauer was saying I couldn't help feeling there was some unsavoury grandstanding going on.

I would heartily recommend anyone who has an interest in climbing works but particularly anybody who has read Into Thin Air. Despite the stilted writing and the long addendum at the end I felt I had a far more rounded understanding of what was at the end of the day a tragic event that showed the power of nature but also the power of the humans contending with it.
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on August 8, 2016
Boukreev was a responsible, honorable and honest man. He got embroiled in a mess but I believe his take on it, totally. Reading Krakauer's book on the Everest climb I can see how he got his opinion of Boukreev and the events, but I don't understand why Krakauer has not changed his initial opinion at all since then. Boukreev having been killed he cannot add anything, nor do I believe he would feel that he needed to do so. It was left to Mr. DeWalt to put together this book, and he did a fine job.
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on February 6, 2017
I've read Krakauer's and Weathers' books, and this one just surpasses them with its straightforward detail and lack of dressing. Boukreev and DeWalt gave me something that was really missing in the other books. A look at that day without trying to fill in the characters of the story to entertain the reader. It's a story of interest, and really does give a better look at Anatoli Boukreev, who was an amazing climber. It was interesting to compare the 3, but if you only read one, this will give you the detail of that day that feels most authentic.
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