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Anatoli Boukreev

Anatoli Boukreev

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Anatoli Nikoliavich Boukreev, , (January 16, 1958 – December 25, 1997) was a Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

i (USSR/Kazakhstan) climber who made ascents of seven of the 8,000 metre peaks
Eight-thousander
The eight-thousanders are the fourteen independent mountains on Earth that are more than high above sea level. They are all located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia....

 without supplemental oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

. In total he made 18 successful ascents on peaks above 8000 m (1989 – 1997). Boukreev was lost under an avalanche on Annapurna
Annapurna
Annapurna is a section of the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes Annapurna I, thirteen additional peaks over and 16 more over ....

. The direct transliteration of his Russian name is Anatolij Nikolaevich Bukreev.

Boukreev was relatively unknown, though well accomplished, in the international climbing community until the 1996 spring climbing season on Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

, when eight people died in one of the biggest tragedies in the climbing history of Mount Everest. The event was chronicled in the best-selling books Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is a 1997 bestselling non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer. It details the author's presence at Mount Everest during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster when eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a 'rogue storm'...

by Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

 and The Climb
The Climb (book)
The Climb is an account by Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev of the 1996 Everest Disaster, during which eight climbers lost their lives on Mount Everest. The co-author, G...

by Boukreev (among others).

Biography


Boukreev was born on January 16, 1958 in Korkino
Korkino
Korkino is a town in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, located on the eastern slope of the Southern Urals, south of Chelyabinsk. Population: It was founded as a village of the same name in the second half of the 18th century. It was granted town status on October 2, 1942.Korkino is an important...

, U.S.S.R in the Chelyabinsk Oblast
Chelyabinsk Oblast
-External links:*...

. After completing high school in 1975, he attended Chelyabinsk University for Pedagogy in the Russian SFSR, where he majored in physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1979. At the same time, he also completed a coaching program for cross-country skiing
Cross-country skiing
Cross-country skiing is a winter sport in which participants propel themselves across snow-covered terrain using skis and poles...

.

After graduation, the 21-year-old dreamed of real mountains. Boukreev moved to Alma-Ata, the capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic located at ridge Tian Shan
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

. Since 1985 supporting a combined team of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 on mountaineering, in 1991 after the breakup of the USSR he accepted Kazakhstan Republic citizenship.

Climbing accomplishments


The major highlights of Boukreev's climbing career are as follows:
  • 1987
    • Lenin Peak
      Lenin Peak
      Lenin Peak , rises to in Gorno-Badakhshan on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and is the second-highest point of both countries. It is considered one of the easiest 7,000 m peaks in the world to climb and it has by far the most ascents of any 7,000 m or higher peak on earth, with every...

       (7,137 m)- First solo ascent

  • 1989
    • April 15 Kangchenjunga
      Kangchenjunga
      Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain of the world with an elevation of and located along the India-Nepal border in the Himalayas.Kangchenjunga is also the name of the section of the Himalayas and means "The Five Treasures of Snows", as it contains five peaks, four of them over...

       (8,556 m) - new route with Second Soviet Himalaya Expedition
    • April 30 - May 2 Kangchenjunga - first traverse of the four 8,000 m summits of the massif
      Massif
      In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...


  • 1990
    • April Mount McKinley
      Mount McKinley
      Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska, United States is the highest mountain peak in North America and the United States, with a summit elevation of above sea level. It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.- Geology and features :Mount McKinley is a granitic pluton...

       - Cassin Ridge route
    • May Mount McKinley - West Rib route

  • 1991
    • May 10 Dhaulagiri
      Dhaulagiri
      Dhaulagiri is Earth's seventh highest mountain at ; one of fourteen over eight thousand metres. Dhaulagiri was first climbed May 13, 1960 by a Swiss/Austrian expedition....

       - new route on the west wall with First Kazakhstan Himalaya Expedition
    • October 7 Mount Everest
      Mount Everest
      Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

       - South Col route

  • 1993
    • May 14 Mount McKinley (6,193 m)
    • July 30 K2
      K2
      K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth, after Mount Everest...

       (8,611 m)

  • 1994
    • April 29 Makalu II (8,460 m)
    • May 15 Makalu
      Makalu
      Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at and is located southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and China...

       (8,476 m)

  • 1995
    • May 17 Mount Everest - North Ridge route
    • June 30 Peak Abai (4,010 m) - guide for President
      President
      A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

       of Kazakhstan
      Kazakhstan
      Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

    • October 8 Dhaulagiri (8,176 m) - fastest ascent record (17h 15m)
    • December 8 Manaslu
      Manaslu
      Manaslu , also known as Kutang) is the eighth highest mountain in the world, and is located in the Mansiri Himal, part of the Nepalese Himalayas, in the west-central part of Nepal. Its name, which means "Mountain of the Spirit", comes from the Sanskrit word Manasa, meaning "intellect" or "soul"...

       (8,156 m) with Second Kazakhstan Himalaya Expedition

  • 1996
    • May 10 Mount Everest - South Col route
    • May 17 Lhotse
      Lhotse
      Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres above sea level, Lhotse Middle is and Lhotse Shar is...

       - solo ascent, speed record
    • September 25 Cho Oyu
      Cho Oyu
      Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain in the world at above sea level. Cho Oyu lies in the Himalayas and is 20 km west of Mount Everest, at the border between China and Nepal...

       (8,201 m) with Third Kazakhstan Himalaya Expedition
    • October 9 North summit of Shishapangma
      Shishapangma
      Xixabangma, frequently spelled Shishapangma or Shisha Pangma , also called Gosainthān , is the fourteenth-highest mountain in the world and, at 8,013 m , the lowest of the eight-thousanders...

       (8,008 m)

  • 1997
    • April 24 Mount Everest (8,850 m)
    • May 23 Lhotse (8,501 m)
    • July 7 Broad Peak
      Broad Peak
      Broad Peak , is the 12th highest mountain on Earth, with an elevation of 8,051 meters . The literal translation of "Broad Peak" to Faichan Kangri is not accepted among the Balti people.- Geography :...

       (8,047 m) - solo ascent
    • July 14 Gasherbrum II
      Gasherbrum II
      Gasherbrum II , also known as K4, is the 13th highest mountain on Earth, located on the border of Gilgit-Baltistan province, Pakistan and Xinjiang, China...

       (8,035 m) - solo ascent

Everest 1996


Boukreev became widely known as the lead climbing guide
Guide
A guide is a person who leads anyone through unknown or unmapped country. This includes a guide of the real world , as well as a person who leads someone to more abstract places .-Guide - meanings related to travel and recreational pursuits:There are many variants of...

 for the Mountain Madness expedition headed by Scott Fischer
Scott Fischer
Scott E. Fischer was an American climber and guide, and the first American to summit 27,940-foot Lhotse, fourth highest mountain in the world.-Career:...

 in May 1996. The expedition was one of several attempting to summit Everest on the same day (May 10th). On May 11 eight climbers from several expeditions perished due to a disastrous blizzard. Boukreev rescued three climbers stranded in the disaster above 8000 m, and indeed all six of the climbing clients on the Mountain Madness expedition survived the ordeal.

Some have described his rescue efforts as:
Others were much more critical. Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

 described his behavior on the day of the disaster as "extremely unorthodox" and claimed that he "cut and ran ... when it mattered most".

At the core of controversy was Boukreev's decision to attempt the summit without supplementary oxygen (which Krakauer saw as irresponsible for a guide) and to descend to the camp ahead of his clients in the face of approaching darkness and blizzard. He was one of the first to reach the summit on the day of the disaster, and he was back at his tent at 5 PM on May 10th, hours ahead of anybody else in his team. Boukreev's supporters point to the fact that his early arrival allowed him enough rest and that, when the blizzard had subsided around midnight, he was able to mount a rescue attempt and to lead several climbers still stranded on the mountain back to the safety of the camp.

Annapurna 1997


In the winter of 1997, Boukreev was attempting to climb the south face of Annapurna I
Annapurna
Annapurna is a section of the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes Annapurna I, thirteen additional peaks over and 16 more over ....

 (8091 m (26,545.3 ft)) along with Simone Moro
Simone Moro
Simone Moro is an Italian alpinist. He has climbed several 8000m peaks without using supplementary oxygen. - Early life :...

, an accomplished Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 mountaineer. They were accompanied by Dimitri Sobolev, a cinematographer
Cinematographer
A cinematographer is one photographing with a motion picture camera . The title is generally equivalent to director of photography , used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image...

 from Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, who was documenting the attempt. On December 25 around noon, Boukreev and Moro were fixing rope
Rope
A rope is a length of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength...

s in a couloir
Couloir
A couloir is a narrow gully with a steep gradient in a mountainous terrain. A couloir may be a seam, scar, or fissure, or vertical crevasse in an otherwise solid mountain mass...

 at around the 5700 m (18,700.8 ft) level. Suddenly, a cornice
Cornice (climbing)
A snow cornice or simply cornice is an overhanging edge of snow on a ridge or the crest of a mountain. They form by wind blowing snow over the crest of the mountain, so they often form on the leeward sides of mountains...

 broke loose from a ridge not visible from the climbing route. The resulting avalanche
Avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...

 knocked Moro down the mountain where he landed just above their tent at Camp I 5200 m (17,060.4 ft). Fortuitously, Moro had somehow stayed near the top of the avalanche debris and managed to dig himself out after a few minutes. Unable to see or hear any signs of Boukreev or Sobolev, Moro descended to Annapurna base camp where he was flown by helicopter back to Kathmandu for surgery on his hands, which had been ripped down to the tendon
Tendon
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, and fasciae connect muscles to other...

s during the fall.

News of the accident reached New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 on December 26. Linda Wylie, Boukreev's girlfriend, left for Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 on December 28. Several attempts were made to reach the avalanche site by helicopter but inclement weather in late December prevented search teams from reaching Camp I. There was some hope that perhaps Boukreev and Sobolev had managed to reach Camp I. However, on January 3, 1998, searchers were finally able to reach Camp I and an empty tent. Linda Wylie subsequently issued a somber statement from Kathmandu:
At the site of Annapurna
Annapurna
Annapurna is a section of the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes Annapurna I, thirteen additional peaks over and 16 more over ....

 base-camp there is a memorial chorten to Boukreev including a quotation of his:

External links