Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Boukreev's The Climb Essay

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Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Boukreev's The Climb

On the day of May 10, 1996, several climbers were attempting to descend the slopes of Mount Everest in blizzard conditions: a time at which every moment mattered. Emerging from the pack, two climbers reached the safety of the tents of Camp Four before the majority of their teammates. Anatoli Boukreev and Jon Krakauer recounted the situation of that day in very different ways, but Krakauer seemed to portray Boukreev as an antagonist in his book, Into Thin Air. Boukreev proved in his own book, The Climb, that multiple actions called into question by Krakauer were in fact valuable steps that an experienced climber used in order to rescue clients in need.

Krakauer repeatedly scolded
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Boukreev was also criticized for his lack of equipment during the trip to the summit. Krakauer noted that Boukreev did not always use the rugged climbing boots or full climbing outfits typical for guides. Boukreev justified this by repeating his philosophy of taking the bare minimum amount of equipment with him in order to save all of the energy possible. Boukreev also talked with teammate Martin Adams about the attire the Russian wore on the summit of Everest. Adams said to him, "You were as well dressed on the mountain as anyone I know. I'm the one who gave you the climbing suit." (quoted in Climb, 214) This helped affirm that Boukreev did not need to rush down the mountain based on the amount of clothing he wore.

The primary focus of Krakauer's hostility was directed toward the speed and timing of Boukreev's descent after reaching the summit of Everest. One of Krakauer's general accusations is that Boukreev did not stay with the clients of his expedition throughout the entire climb. In fact, this was never the plan for Fischer's Mountain Madness expeditions. Boukreev said to Beidleman on the slopes of Everest that he thought "holding [clients'] hands...was an absurd position. I repeated again my concerns that we had to encourage self-reliance." (Climb, 84-5) Furthermore, Jane Bromet, Scott Fischer's publicist, told Climb co-author G. Weston DeWalt that "Scott told me...that if there were problems coming down, Anatoli

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