Talk:Anatoli Boukreev

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Untitled[edit]

Read "The Climb", "Into Thin Air" and "Left for Dead". Don't know who was at fault for the tragedy...very sad. Incredible reading.

I have read The Climb (most while in Nepal no less), and Into Thin Air. Krakauer blames Boukreev to some extent for descending to the South Col well ahead of the clients. However, Boukreev stated in his book that he had consulted with Fisher before doing so and it was agreed that it was best if he did so in order to prepare for the climbers as they reached the South Col. I think Fisher exhausted himself before he made the summit attempt and probably should not have gone (notwithstanding what eventually happened). Indeed a tragic story for everyone involved. Most everyone who suffered that day made the summit well past the safe turnaround. Many times climbers can be fortunate with the afternoon weather and take the additional risk of reaching the summit late but luck was not with them that day. RedWolf 07:28, Feb 18, 2005 (UTC)

Anatoli was born in Kazakhstan (then USSR), not in Russia. There are many pictures of him on the web with him holding up the Kazakhstan flag. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.56.82.112 (talk) 04:20, 3 October 2007 (UTC) Actually, as a quick check shows, Chelyabinsk has never been anywhere but in Russia.

Totally Disputed[edit]

Granted, this must be a very touchy subject, with the Salon debates, DeWalt's The Climb, and Krakauer's 1999 afterword against DeWalt, amongst other bits in the sheer glut of facts. But this article is clearly very biased, not even referencing some of the disputed claims. Some points that need to be addressed:

  1. I thought that Dale Kruse gotten HACE during the accilimization time and that Fischer ordered Boukreev to climb with them; Boukreev refused and as a result there was nobody there when Kruse collapsed at Camp II. (described in Into Thin Air)
  2. Boukreev's cynical view of guiding, his personality: how if the client could not climb Everest he/she should not be on it.
  3. Decision to descend. Oh god, the implications with this thing. Second conversation, predetermined plan?
  4. Adams switching sides around? Krakauer reports Adams as a mild man, who says, "Wow. I say you got some explaining to do." Dewitt has Adams as a real critic (can't remember the quote now). Whatever the case, he's the only other surviving witness (besides Krakauer himself) who saw Boukreev's and Fischer's last conversation.

It's all in Into Thin Air and The Climb and the Salon debates [1], which includes one piece and two Dewitt/Krakauer debates. Lots of this info needs to be included and neturally described, which is why I put the TotallyDisputed template up, since neither are present (the page before I edited it solely had Boukreev/Dewitt version). Even my edits haven't quite fully done justice. Hbdragon88 02:39, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

It is not to put blame on a dead person. But the general negative POV on Boukreev was that he (as a very experienced and extremely strong climber) only was able (and willing) to climb for his own, additionally get paid for this, and did NOT (really) work (every time) for the team members (which is essential as they pay for summiting WITH help). When he might have asked Scott Fischer, his boss, high on Everest for allowance to go down quickly, nearly everybody knew that Scott Fischer was a weak and quite ill person at that moment, probably not willing to dispute: again a mistake beneath others. Yes, Boukreev then, later, saved lives down on south col. OK. But in front of this he might have saved some more lives higher on the mountain in assisting his boss and the team members instead of rushing on top alone and then rushing down alone. IMHO. (excuse for my bad english.) BTW Weston DeWalt, writer for Boukreev, is a bloody asshole, having earned money by a lousy and really bad book. Me being a saloon debateer too (but a man with deep respect for responsible behaviour. Boukreev - in his extreme wish to perform as a climber was NO good responsible team member. AND Fischer was a bad boss trying to ignore this fact.) Or we agree in this: trying to summit on Everest is a NON RESPONSIBLE behaviour in any respect, as there may riskily occur heaviest weather conds in extreme short times which can cause deads after best thinkable preparation to survive. 217.187.204.239 21:31, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Why is guiding on Everest even a thing? Guides should be used to show the way, not to babysit. Any negligence short of the client saying "no" and the guide saying "yes" is entirely on the client in this situation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.255.170.233 (talk) 16:26, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposed changes[edit]

This is the second time I have encountered questionable information on Wikipedia. I'm hesitant to just charge right in and change it, since I'm somewhat unfamiliar with the process, so I'll post about it and wait a bit for discussion before acting. The problematic section is the following paragraph which was added by Hbdragon88:

"Boukreev descended to Camp IV for energy reasons; because he was climbing without bottled oxgyen, he needed to descend quickly. His decision to descend ahead of the climbers has been a major point of conflict; many primere mountain climbers criticzed Boukreev for not fulfilling his duty as a guide to breateh bottled oxygen and assist the clients as they headed down. Even the facts are in dispute; Gary Weston DeWalt claims that Fischer devised such a plan for Boukreev to descend ahead of time; Boukreev in other interviews has said there was no plan. The heated debate reached a climax in Salon, where Krakauer and DeWalt debated about Boukreev's decisio to descend. [1]"

An addition to numerous mispellings and odd punctuation, the facts here are distorted. At least it is heavily biased towards Krakauer's version of events. The reason Boukreev descended quickly is disputed. "Premiere" mountaineers have both criticized and applauded Boukreev's actions that day. Boukreev's "duty" as understood by he and his employer is also in dispute, as is whether he fulfilled it. DeWalt does not merely "claim" Boukreev and Fischer had a plan, but cites a witness (Jane Bromet) who has publicly stated that Fischer spoke of this to her. The claim that Boukreev stated there was no plan in "other interviews" is not sourced. I suspect that the source is Jon Krakauer's statement: "Indeed, in the summer of 1996, Boukreev himself explicitly stated during a videotaped interview for ABC News that there was no plan." (from the linked footnote). If this is so then "interviews" should not be plural. Also, I would like to see a transcript of this interview before relying on Krakauer's interpretation as fact.

I think that the best solution to the problems with this paragraph would be to revert to the original text which read simply: "Boukreev descended to Camp IV, after consulting with Fischer, ahead of the climbers to prepare tea and food upon their return.", and change this to: "Boukreev descended to Camp IV ahead of the other climbers for reasons which are disputed." An additional section could be added, summarizing the points in contention.

I (and most mountaineers I know) find DeWalt's version of events to be far more credible than Krakauer's. Though the latter is a much more compelling writer, he has demonstrated a shocking lack of credibility in his original telling of events (regarding Andy Harris), and his arguments have holes you can drive a truck through. I do recommend that anyone interested in the event read both books and the debates posted online, then make up their own mind on it.

Any advice for the proper procedure to make this change? Should I have just made the edits and explained it here?

WodenAlfodr 02:07, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I never pretended to be knowledgable about mountain climbing at all nor have read The Climb, which is why I brought up the issue here in regards on how to "toe the line" than trying to make it fit into the Krakauer or DeWalt vision. That being said, I like the "reasons are disputed" part with an explanation.
There's not much that I know of; I only recently found the Salon debate and read the 1999 afterward to Into Thin Air. Again, this is why I bring it here because I am not too knowledgable on the issue.
I for one found that Krakauer's 1999 afterward punched holes in DeWalt's arguments, such as the fact that Bromet herself said that DeWalt had worded her quote to make it appear like there ws a plan, or the fact that the conversation took place in March or thereabouts. I'd like to also know about the holes that Krakauer's arguments have. Note that the Outside article was done quickly, nad Krakauer says that he couldn't reach Martin Adams until after it went to press (which is totally disputed by DeWalt in the parts of Climb that I did read).
I also find DeWalt's premise to be ridiculous. Fischer pays an experience mountain guide $US 25,000 to do the work of a Sherpa? That money is for him to stay there and help the client! (logically) And the only proof that Fischer had a plan was Bromet, and Krakauer pointed out that the "plan" dated back to March of that year, two months before the journey. Hbdragon88 23:19, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

I performed the agreed on reversion, however, I have not had the opportunity to review the source material yet, so I did not perform the summarization of the points in contention. Instead I simply retained your link to the Salon debate. I still think that a summarization would be beneficial, because the beginnings of this debate lie within the books Into Thin Air and The Climb. It is a difficult topic to do justice to.

Regarding the points you raise above, again, I haven't reviewed the material recently, but here is what I recall:

  • Bromet's issue with DeWalts use of her quote had to do with when she said it, not the substance of her words.
  • The main problems I have with Krakauer's story revolve around the use of oxygen. IIRC Anatoli spent a couple of hours at the top, was the only person to brave the storm that night rescuing several people, and then headed back up the next day to find Fischer. Anatoli believed that if he had used oxygen, and stayed with the clients he would have run out of oxygen and been severely debilitated, and would likely have perished with the others. I see no compelling evidence to falsify this statement, and Krakauer's own experience with his oxygen would seem to support it.
  • Krakauer's description of the disagreement over the status of oxygen bottles on the South Col, has a suspect air about it that is reminiscent of his egregious mistake in the original article (also about Andy). He assigns considerable blame to Andy for Rob's death, and seems to do so much too lightly. Boukreev's account of this event is more plausible, and consistent with his overall discussion of the use of oxygen, a topic that he expounds on at length in The Climb.

Voden 12:03, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm....I don't believe this is going to go much anywhere if neither of us have the sure knowledge, if we have this hesitency in not knowing how about to fix up this article. You are correct in that both Boukreev and DeWalt argue that Boukreev's lack of oxgyen usage helped clients. However, as Krakauer pointed out - he couldn't help anyone directly. Look at Martin Adams - Boukreev said, "I am going down with Adams." Adams falls behind, Boukreev races ahead of him, and it is Mike Groom who finds a severly hypoxic Adams. Krakauer also points out that Ed Viesturs, the man who did the IMAX film and is the 12th to climb the all of the eight-thousnader peaks, said that it was completely irresponsible to guide without oxygen. Bascially, Krakauer said that one cannot think without oxygen, and so reponsible guides will use it to direclty assist their clients.
The afterward clearly states that Bromet believed that DeWalt had nixed her quote enough to make it sound like a plan when there really wasn't.
The South Col...not too sure what the debate is here. He had Mike Groom there, who presumably verified everything Krakauer wrote down. Krakauer nearly collapsed due to a lack of oxygen; Mike Groom gave him his bottle of O's, and they checked the South Col and verified that there was indeed oxygen in all of those bottles. I know for a fact that Boukreev's book says that "Krakauer collapsed," which some have dismissed as unprofessional and a cheap shot.
Krakauer mostly sticks it to the mountain guides (Hall and Fischer), really, more than anything else. He says that they were irresponsible in not turing people around after the 2pm turnaround time, and especially so in Rob Hanson's case.
Personally, I think we need an expert on this topic. Badly. Who knows everything about both accounts and can write a neutral article. - Hbdragon88 05:23, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

NPOV Proposal[edit]

I'd suggest that while Wiki talks about providing an objective 'truth' based on 'published' sources we have arrived at the point where the limited ability of any of the participants to see and understand everything that was going on, and the stress and strong feelings generated on the night of the storm, and particularly in the few days that followed, have made it impossible for any them to 'tell the whole story', or for us any of us to assemble a 'full picture' from each of their separately published works. One might note - as an aside - that if the participants had limited their comments to their own experience we might have been able to assemble a fairly coherent 'whole story' from their fragments, but the controversy that quickly swirled around the whole affair enjoined nearly everyone to make some observations outside their direct experience, and while these might be valuable observations it makes it harder for us looking back to discern 'what was known' and 'what was understood'. I might add before leaving this point, a quote from Peter Hillary about what it is like to be in a storm on a high mountain - to help explain to the earthbound (most of us) why events within such a (relatively) short timeframe could generate so many 'perspectives'.

What would it have been like up there? Imagine yourself in a large commercial freezer; its minus 40 degrees, there’s a 747 engine at one end of the freezer, blasting freezing air at you at 300, perhaps 400 kilometres per hour. Tilt the entire freezer on to a 50 degree angle, so that you are clawing with your ice-axes and the crampons on your boots to secure purchase. Bear in mind that at over 8,000 metres there is less than one third the amount of oxygen in the air as at sea level and your lungs are heaving with a wild rate of hyperventilation that is only sufficient to enable you to move at a snail’s pace; your circulation is impaired by the acclimatisation process and the cold is eating into your toes and fingertips. Now turn off the light.

And while the storm on Everest was not as strong as the one on K2 (that killed Alison Hargreaves and 5 others), in the case of Everest we are talking about a larger number of people spread out over a large area.

My key point - however - is that this story does not belong in the article on Anatoli Boukreev. Essentially it is a story about 'the mountain' and to attach it to Anatoli on the basis that he was just one 'participant' is illogical. If we justify its location here on the basis of the difference of opinion between Anatoli and Krakauer we miss the point - the 'fact' that there was disagreement belongs in this article (and in Jon Krakauer's), but the substance of those opinions, and the events that they attach to is a much bigger story than Anatoli's or Jon's alone, and warrants an article in it's own right, or as a chapter in the article on Everest itself (my preference). In that larger context I'd argue that there would be an opportunity to (in the Wiki tradition) present the various viewpoints (and reference them), and then enumerate (and this to my mind is what is important..) 'what is known - what is agreed' for the benefit of the reader.

This article - Anatoli's - is meant to be about the entirety of Anatoli's life, and I believe we should work to restore that 'focus'. Anatoli's climbing achievements were considerable. Incidentally I'd suggest the same approach to Scott Fischer's article, and Rob Hall's - comments about the circumstances of their deaths are appropriate, but a man's achievements 'in life' (if they are notable) deserve proper attention (and Anotoli, Scott and Rob achieved many notable things in their lives). Because there is likely to be some 'sensitivity' about this I won't do any more beyond 'adding' some details about Anatoli to the entry, and leave the question of reducing the 'story' of May 1996 to another day. I'd be proposing though, something along the lines of.. Anatoli was a guide in the Mountain Madness group, the group summited late in the day, Scott Fischer died, the rest survived, Anatoli was credited with rescuing 3 and was awarded the David A Sowles award for bravery by the US Alpine Club. Tban 00:27, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

For some time I've been intending to rewrite this in a more neutral tone. Reading your comments, I think it would be better to write an article on the '96 climbing season and then merge the info from the climber and Mt Everest articles. Then this and the other climber articles can be rewritten per your last paragraph, with a link to the new '96 article. At least then all the controversial stuff is in one place. Kevin 01:58, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like the beginning of some concensus. I have started the process I flagged, and promoted the 'climbing achievements' section to the forefront of the Boukreev article.Tban 07:18, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Gday Kevin, it gets interesting... The events of May 1996 on Everest deserve an article (clearly) on the basis that Wiki would be expected (by readers) to have 'something to say on it' and indeed people might be coming to Wiki to look for a NPOV on what must seem like a very confused/confusing story. It seems that it would be appropriate to mention the events of May 1996 'briefly' in the main Everest article, and then point to a standalone 'Everest 1996 Disaster' article (although there will probably be some discussion about what to call it - there is an argument that 'disaster' doesn't quite fit the bill).

Stepping aside from the question of the title for the moment though, it seems to me that to describe the events without having a detailed guide to the 'geography' of the route between the North Col and the Summit is to create more confusion. The main everest article doesn't quite go into enough detail. So there is a case for creating an 'child' article 'Everest North Col to Summit Route Detail' (or suchlike). So that's what I'm working on at the moment. It's actually quite complex - and made interesting by the fact that some climbers seem to interchange terms when describing the features along the way. A detailed geography also helps make sense of the Mallory/Irvine articles (who was where/when).

The format I'm aiming towards is an initial diagram (cross section) with several different 'layers' of information - (1) features - each relating to a text section lower down in the articl (2) vertical and horizontal distances between features (3) climbing time between features (4) location of events such as rescues/deaths/irving's ice axe etc (5) climbing route(s) around features. The very interesting thing is that the 'nearness' of the summit (and perhaps the stress on the climber) has resulted in the descriptions of this part of the route being frequently 'glossed over', hazy or simply contradictory. My timeframe to complete the first draft of this is about a week.. Tban 00:46, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the '96 disaster should get its own article and only be summarized in related articles. heqs 17:01, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes! I propose it be called 1996 Everest Disaster. I'm all over this, tell me when you start it so I can add it to my watchlist. --Liface 17:10, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
It seems that people have been talking about it on various pages for at least a few months now, someone just has to get it started. ;) heqs 17:36, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Everest '96[edit]

(new section for ease of reading)

I am still working on this although I have had less time lately due to an intrusion of real life. I'm probably about a third of the way through. The format I was intending to use was:

Introduction

List of the climbers

A list of the climbers and expeditions involved.

Narrative of events

Written in prose form, broken up into suhheadings by date range i.e May 10-11 in one section, and I'm not sure of the others yet.

Oxygen supplies

Details of what was required, and what was actually available.

Fixing rope to the summit

According to Krakaeur this was a major cause of delay on summit day.

List of those who died

For easier reading than scanning through the narrative.

Controversy

A hopefully short section detailing the differences of opinion of those who were there.


References


If you get impatient send me a message on my talk page or an email to get a move on. I was keen to get the article mostly completed before posting so that the inevitable NPOV might be discouraged. I am in the process of emailing the climbers whos emails I can find to see if I can get some free use images from them, seeing as I'm not likely to be able to take my own pictures.

This article would fit well with descriptive articles on the 2 major climbing routes. Kevin 23:38, 7 July 2006 (UTC)


NPOV vs Disputed[edit]

The actual facts presented in the Everest '96 section aren't actually in contention. All accounts of the summit bid agree on the timetable, location of the team members, etc. I changed the tag to NPOV to reflect that there is still disagreement about how to interpret Boukreev's motivation. Let me know if you disagree. 129.186.205.84 20:01, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

anatoli epilogue[edit]

having read both books (into thin air and the climb) i got interested in and about anatoli boukreev . that's why i ended up here at wikipedia .

to my opinion it doesn't matter where the truth lies , anatoli was a very strong climber with an impressive state of accomplishments .

a mistake at high altitude , is often a deadly one . and as i have read both books , some things are for sure . why anatoli went up without oxygen while guiding , and going down without any customers , is questionable . even if there was a plan/agreement with fisher . everything around it is speculative .

it doesn't change the fact that we're talking about a great climber here , and although he has accomplished incredible things , the 1996 everest disaster will be the first thing he will be remembered by .

he rescued 3 people in a very hostile environment (one that should be listed at his merits) . but the way he got there still raises questions .

thus the legacy of this climber . so my proposal would be .

put all versions of all writers/witnesses in. let history decide . there's no way to be sure what really happened . even surviving witnesses can't be all that sure because of hypoxia and exhaustion (even before the storm).

so i believe that some controversies about anatoli can't be solved . and we shouldn't want to . it's all part of the adventure so to speak . so place all accounts side by side , don't alter any of them . leave it .

steeb —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.170.182.84 (talk) 18:53, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Neutral Point of View Question Raised Again[edit]

I've read both the Climb and Into Thin Air. I'm not a climber, but I'm having a hard time swallowing Krakauer's line that Boukreev's descent ahead of his clients was a factor in the problems they encountered. A simple body count reveals that of the Mountain Madness team (Boukreev's), the six clients who attempted the summit that day, Martin Adams, Charlotte Fox, Lene Gammalgaard, Tim Madsen, Sandy Hill Pittman, and Klev Schoening, all reached the summit and survived without loss of fingers or toes. Scott Fischer, the leader of the expedition, was the only fatality.

Of the Adventure Consultant's team, (Krakauer's), Krakauer was the only client to both reach the summit and survive. Rob Hall, the leader of the expedition died of exposure, guide Andy Hall died, as did clients Doug Hansen and Yasuko Namba. Beck Weathers who failed to reach the summit was abandoned by his teammates, but managed (miraculously, in my opinion) to survive.

Boukreev was a highly trained and experienced climber. Krakauer is a journalist. Boukreev's opinion was that he would be better able to help if he himself was rested and equiped with what the clients needed: oxygen and hot tea to combat hypothermia. Krakauer seems to think that Boukreev should have just held hands with his clients.

It seems to me that the results are not neutral: Boukreev was right.

I would like the article on Boukreev to omit even a summary of the controversy, and just have it link to a separate article. Ljprice (talk) 22:33, 29 October 2009 (UTC)


I think there's a more convincing argument then the question of where Boukreev's help was most useful, up with clients or resting in camp 4 ready to head up and provide help when the storm broke. This ignores the nature of what Boukreev would have been helping the clients with, climbing Everest, not descending, initially at least. Given Boukreev's descent time every climber Boukreev crossed paths with should have turned around and joined him going down, the fact that none did speaks at the very least to the fact that Boukreev would have had to help clients get further into the death zone before he'd be in a position of actually 'saving' anyone. One might argue that too little was done to convince various climbers to turn around, which I agree Boukreev should have done, though we may never know what efforts he made to direct people in the right direction. Certainly I think this is an area where the team leaders should have, you know, LEAD and gotten the train going in the right direction and the lack of effective leadership limited what Boukreev could do to help clients stay safe. Further evidence to the fact that staying with the clients may not have been the best option is in the deaths of both Adventure Consultant guides high up on the mountain unable to help their clients, themselves and unable even to be helped. Finally having spent an hour and a half on or around the summit helping clients it's pretty clear that Boukreev was helping as long as the climbers were operating on a reasonable safe climb and descent schedule.

The two things that I think Boukreev could have done that would have clearly improved the situation would be firstly climbing with oxygen, even if not to stay up on the mountain longer it would have meant the climb taxed him less and put him in better shape to help stranded climbers after the storm. Secondly assuming leadership after Scott started to show signs of suffering mentally from the altitude and presumably getting his team to turn around by the proper time.


You know, I agree completely. It seems appropriate that his accomplishments should stand on their own and not be folded into the controversy. The article on the 1996 disaster covers this controversy completely. I'm going to go ahead and edit the article accordingly, and if anyone thinks it belongs back in, well, we'll talk again. PR (talk) 04:03, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

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