The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest Summary & Study Guide

Anatoli Boukreev
This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Climb.
This section contains 430 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest Summary & Study Guide Description

The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev.

"The Climb" is a collaborative effort by high-altitude climbing guide Anatoli Boukreev and writer G. Weston DeWalt to tell the story of the tragic attempt to climb Mt Everest in May, 1996, in which several people died. Alternating between passages written by Boukreev and DeWalt, the book examines the increased commercialization of climbing where clients pay to be led to the summit by guides like Boukreev, and describes Boukreev's rescue efforts as a guide for one of these climbing companies, Mountain Madness.

The book describes the early efforts of Scott Fischer, an American climber from Seatlle, to put his climbing expertise to financial advantage by creating a travel group called Mountain Madness. Plagued by organizational and logistical problems, Fischer was forced to make shortcuts and changes in plans from the very beginning. Tragedy strikes the group early on when one of the Sherpa guides develops a severe form of altitude sickness requiring his evacuation. Despite the varying levels of skill and preparedness of his clients, Fischer encourages all of them to try for the summit except for one individeual who becomes so debilitated that Fischer takes him personally back to Base Camp.

The book defends Boukreev's controversial actions on the day the Mountain Madness climbers reach the Everest summit when several of them lose their way in a blinding storm. Rather than leading his clients at the time, Boukreev was resting in camp, not far from where the climbers became stranded in the storm. Because of his location, however, Boukreev was the only guide able to reach the stranded climbers, and led three of them safely back to camp.

"The Climb" addresses the portrayal of Boukreev by writer Jon Krakauer as an arrogant maverick who neglected his guide duties, attempting to discredit Krakauer's interpretation of events. Boukreev also implicates commercial guides Rob Hall and Scott Fischer and the increased practice of leading inexperienced climbers up high mountains as playing crucial roles in the tragedy that ensued. Both Hall and Fischer died during the climb, each exhausted and out of time after helping their clients reach the summit.

Boukreev completes the book by describing his own method for training and leading clients up Everest as a guide for a national Indonesian team of climbers. In contrast to Fischer and Hall, Boukreev prescribed a regimented course of training and acclimatization for his climbers, and only took the strongest on the summit bid. His method succeeded, with the entire team returning safely. The book closes with a brief memorial to Boukreev, who was killed in an avalanche while climbing Annapurna.

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This section contains 430 words
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