The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest

Anatoli Boukreev, Author, G. Weston Dewalt, With St. Martin's Press $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-16814-8
Boukreev was the lead guide for the expedition to Mt. Everest in spring 1996 led by the American Scott Fischer, owner of Mountain Madness, an outdoor adventure company based in Seattle. Like Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer's bestselling chronicle of the same expedition, this account is a gripping account of the Mountain Madness group's bid to reach the top of the world's highest peak, one that combines Boukreev's firsthand recollections and DeWalt's interviews with team members. But Boukreev and DeWalt, a freelance journalist, also offer a look at the mundane tasks associated with climbing, such as obtaining the necessary permits and equipment, and taking the reader through the complex preparations required to scale the mountain, including the establishment of various camps and the acclimatization process required for climbers to adjust to higher altitudes. After steadily moving up the mountain for several days and beginning its final ascent to the summit, the Mountain Madness team encountered an expedition led by Rob Hall, which delayed their ascent. While most of the Mountain Madness clients reached the summit, many did so at a late hour; as they began their descent, they were hit by a fierce snowstorm and darkness fell. Fischer, Hall and three other climbers lost their lives. Boukreev, who claims to have helped save the Mountain Madness climbers who survived, convincingly refutes suggestions made by Krakauer that Boukreev was partly responsible for the deaths that occurred on the mountain that night. This powerful tale will make climbers who are interested in scaling Everest think twice about donning their boots. Photos not seen by PW (Dec.) FYI: Broughton Coburn's October book from National Geographic, Everest: Mountain Without Mercy (Forecasts, Sept. 29, 1997), also offers new insight into the Fischer/Hall climb.
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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