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Just finished the best book I have ever read.

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby I Man » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:42 am

SurfNTurf wrote:Regarding Boukreev vs. Krakauer, keep in mind that both of them were involved in the situation and both of them are human. One doesn't necessarily have to be an a**hole liar and the other unequivocally right. They're going to have skewed perspectives, and it's not hard to find sources to corroborate your story if you ignore enough people who don't. :wink: Journalists aren't generally allowed to be the subject of their own articles for a reason. Striving to be objective might be an impossible goal, but good journalists at least give it their best shot. Did either Krakauer or Boukreev write a completely factual, objective book about such an intricate situation while also setting aside their egos to portray themselves in an honest light? I sincerely doubt it. I also sincerely doubt either lied maliciously; they simply wrote what they knew and believed according to the "facts" available to them at the time.


I have to agree here. While Anatoli has been very influential on my life, I don't view Krakauer as a bad person. Sure, I disagree with him...but I don't think he maliciously went after Anatoli. They both have their version and its hard to change that.

Toli is one of the best High Altitude Mountaineers of all time.
Krakaeu is an accomplished writer and a superb technical climber. Devil's Thumb anyone?

They each have their strengths, come from vastly different backgrounds and had two very different experiences of the same event.
You can touch the void, just don't fall into it.

"I fly a starship across the universe divide....and when I reach the other side...I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a Mountain Man again.

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby Dave B » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:00 am

I Man wrote:
SurfNTurf wrote:Regarding Boukreev vs. Krakauer, keep in mind that both of them were involved in the situation and both of them are human. One doesn't necessarily have to be an a**hole liar and the other unequivocally right. They're going to have skewed perspectives, and it's not hard to find sources to corroborate your story if you ignore enough people who don't. :wink: Journalists aren't generally allowed to be the subject of their own articles for a reason. Striving to be objective might be an impossible goal, but good journalists at least give it their best shot. Did either Krakauer or Boukreev write a completely factual, objective book about such an intricate situation while also setting aside their egos to portray themselves in an honest light? I sincerely doubt it. I also sincerely doubt either lied maliciously; they simply wrote what they knew and believed according to the "facts" available to them at the time.


I have to agree here. While Anatoli has been very influential on my life, I don't view Krakauer as a bad person. Sure, I disagree with him...but I don't think he maliciously went after Anatoli. They both have their version and its hard to change that.

Toli is one of the best High Altitude Mountaineers of all time.
Krakaeu is an accomplished writer and a superb technical climber. Devil's Thumb anyone?

They each have their strengths, come from vastly different backgrounds and had two very different experiences of the same event.


I agree with this as well and still like Krakauer quite a bit, (mostly after reading On the Ridge Between Life and Death) have read most of his books and was enthralled by Under the Banner of Heaven.

For a completely different take on the subject I do recommend watching the "Into Thin Air" movie that came out on TBS (I think) in 1997. While Krakauer sold the rights quickly and, supposedly, had very little to do with the scripting the movie portrays Krakauer as the "save the day" hero and Anatoli as a gruff, selfish rusky commie and Scott Fisher as some adrenaline junky. The acting and portrayal of high altitude mountaineering will make your head explode and "Shooter McGavin" (from Happy Gilmore) playing Krakauer is pretty epically ridiculous.
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby mtndude3737 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:05 am

SurfNTurf wrote:
mtndude3737 wrote:Well, I was referring to the fact that I watched "Seven Years in Tibet" the movie, and didn't read the book. My bad. It would be better to picture Mr. Harrer as he really is by reading the book, instead of as Brad Pitt. Good catch.


Oh I know, I was just being an ass and jokingly playing the "book is always better than the movie" card. The movie version is a classic in its own right.

And I secretly think Brad Pitt is hot. :shock:

Now excuse me while I hurl.

Can't wait to get Anatoli's take on the Everest Disaster. In truth, we probably all need to read Beck Weathers' "Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest" and forget the other 2.
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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby Guitarzan » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:36 am

Lene Gammelgaard also wrote a pretty good book about the 96 Everest Expedition. She was a member of Scott Fisher's team. The book is called "Climbing High".
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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby kaiman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:40 am

mtndude3737 wrote:
SurfNTurf wrote:
mtndude3737 wrote:Well, I was referring to the fact that I watched "Seven Years in Tibet" the movie, and didn't read the book. My bad. It would be better to picture Mr. Harrer as he really is by reading the book, instead of as Brad Pitt. Good catch.


Oh I know, I was just being an ass and jokingly playing the "book is always better than the movie" card. The movie version is a classic in its own right.

And I secretly think Brad Pitt is hot. :shock:

Now excuse me while I hurl.

Can't wait to get Anatoli's take on the Everest Disaster. In truth, we probably all need to read Beck Weathers' "Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest" and forget the other 2.


I usually refrain from these conversations on 14ers.com, but I've been following this thread and thought I would add my comments. In part because it's interesting to me that this discussion is still going on 15 years later with people still choosing sides so strongly.

After reading about 6-8 books that touch on the '96 Everest disaster, including Beck Weather's book, the chapters in No Shortcuts to the Top by Ed Vestuirs, and David Breasher's autobiography as well as Into Thin Air and The Climb, I personally think that the supposed controversy between Krakauer and Boukreev was more media generated then anything else. Later editions of Krakauer's book have an epilogue which discusses when he and Boukreev met and made up before Anatoli died on Annapurna.

After re-reading Into Thin Air several times, I personally don't think Krakauer pointed too many fingers at Boukreev, so I am not sure what the hub-bub was all about. I think Krakauer's major criticism (and a valid one in my opinion), seems to be that commercialization of climbing by the Nepalese government and guide companies to rich, egotistical, clients who lacked experience was the real problem. Boukreev also seems to support this notion in The Climb, but from a guides point of view.

BTW - Weather's book is a good read, but for different reasons. He also points a finger at Boukreev to some degree (claiming that he changed his story several times).

Lene Gammelgard's book Climbing High about being a woman on that expedition probably points the least amount of fingers at any one person, but she (wrongly in my opinion) tries to dispel the notion given by pretty much every other author that commercialism combined with ego and inexperience was the real cause of the tragedy.

To me the most compelling book about the whole 1996 Everest season has nothing to do with the disaster but was written by the Swedish climber Goran Cropp called Ultimate High in which he talks about riding his bike from Stockholm Sweden to Nepal (7,000 miles) and climbing Everest solo without Sherpa support (just days after the tragedy) and then bicycling back home again :shock:
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

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"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

- Edward Whymper

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby mtndude3737 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:09 pm

kaiman wrote:To me the most compelling book about the whole 1996 Everest season has nothing to do with the disaster but was written by the Swedish climber Goran Cropp called Ultimate High in which he talks about riding his bike from Stockholm Sweden to Nepal (7,000 miles) and climbing Everest solo without Sherpa support (just days after the tragedy) and then bicycling back home again :shock:

I heard about Goran Cropp and wanted to read his story...that is truly amazing! "Ultimate High" is the next book I am reading for sure.

Thanks for your viewpoint, and for the reading tip! If nothing else, the whole entire story made me a more cautious climber, and has made me rethink unsafe situations instead of having "summit fever". If all of that saves my life someday, I thank them for the controversy!
What is there, beyond the mountain, if not the man? - Walter Bonatti

The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes. - Steve House

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby I Man » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:18 pm

I usually refrain from these conversations on 14ers.com, but I've been following this thread and thought I would add my comments. In part because it's interesting to me that this discussion is still going on 15 years later with people still choosing sides so strongly.

After reading about 6-8 books that touch on the '96 Everest disaster, including Beck Weather's book, the chapters in No Shortcuts to the Top by Ed Vestuirs, and David Breasher's autobiography as well as Into Thin Air and The Climb, I personally think that the supposed controversy between Krakauer and Boukreev was more media generated then anything else. Later editions of Krakauer's book have an epilogue which discusses when he and Boukreev met and made up before Anatoli died on Annapurna.

After re-reading Into Thin Air several times, I personally don't think Krakauer pointed too many fingers at Boukreev, so I am not sure what the hub-bub was all about. I think Krakauer's major criticism (and a valid one in my opinion), seems to be that commercialization of climbing by the Nepalese government and guide companies to rich, egotistical, clients who lacked experience was the real problem. Boukreev also seems to support this notion in The Climb, but from a guides point of view.

BTW - Weather's book is a good read, but for different reasons. He also points a finger at Boukreev to some degree (claiming that he changed his story several times).

Lene Gammelgard's book Climbing High about being a woman on that expedition probably points the least amount of fingers at any one person, but she (wrongly in my opinion) tries to dispel the notion given by pretty much every other author that commercialism combined with ego and inexperience was the real cause of the tragedy.

To me the most compelling book about the whole 1996 Everest season has nothing to do with the disaster but was written by the Swedish climber Goran Cropp called Ultimate High in which he talks about riding his bike from Stockholm Sweden to Nepal (7,000 miles) and climbing Everest solo without Sherpa support (just days after the tragedy) and then bicycling back home again :shock:




Bourkeev and Krakauer never really "made up." They just met and acknowledged each other.

People shouldn't focus so much on the 96 Disaster...it gives mountaineering a bad name in many, many ways.


Goran Cropp died on a single pitch 5.10 trad lead in Washington just 6 years after that amazing feat :?
You can touch the void, just don't fall into it.

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby jblyth » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:22 pm

Dave B wrote:
I Man wrote:
SurfNTurf wrote:Regarding Boukreev vs. Krakauer, keep in mind that both of them were involved in the situation and both of them are human. One doesn't necessarily have to be an a**hole liar and the other unequivocally right. They're going to have skewed perspectives, and it's not hard to find sources to corroborate your story if you ignore enough people who don't. :wink: Journalists aren't generally allowed to be the subject of their own articles for a reason. Striving to be objective might be an impossible goal, but good journalists at least give it their best shot. Did either Krakauer or Boukreev write a completely factual, objective book about such an intricate situation while also setting aside their egos to portray themselves in an honest light? I sincerely doubt it. I also sincerely doubt either lied maliciously; they simply wrote what they knew and believed according to the "facts" available to them at the time.


I have to agree here. While Anatoli has been very influential on my life, I don't view Krakauer as a bad person. Sure, I disagree with him...but I don't think he maliciously went after Anatoli. They both have their version and its hard to change that.

Toli is one of the best High Altitude Mountaineers of all time.
Krakaeu is an accomplished writer and a superb technical climber. Devil's Thumb anyone?

They each have their strengths, come from vastly different backgrounds and had two very different experiences of the same event.


I agree with this as well and still like Krakauer quite a bit, (mostly after reading On the Ridge Between Life and Death) have read most of his books and was enthralled by Under the Banner of Heaven.

For a completely different take on the subject I do recommend watching the "Into Thin Air" movie that came out on TBS (I think) in 1997. While Krakauer sold the rights quickly and, supposedly, had very little to do with the scripting the movie portrays Krakauer as the "save the day" hero and Anatoli as a gruff, selfish rusky commie and Scott Fisher as some adrenaline junky. The acting and portrayal of high altitude mountaineering will make your head explode and "Shooter McGavin" (from Happy Gilmore) playing Krakauer is pretty epically ridiculous.


I didn't even know they made the book into a movie until a few years back. We did the Annapurna Circuit and spent the night in a larger village that had a "movie theater" which was showing this flick. Every time Shooter McGavin came on screen I just kept hearing "I eat pieces of s**t like you for breakfast!" The whole movie was pretty comical....

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby Gareth » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:41 pm

I'm now reading "The Mountain of My Fear and Deborah" (on the Deborah part now), and "Moments of Doubt" should be on my doorstep sometime tomorrow. :D
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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby kaiman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:17 pm

I Man wrote:People shouldn't focus so much on the 96 Disaster...it gives mountaineering a bad name in many, many ways.


I'm with you there. I don't think dwelling on it will do anyone any good. However I think it does serve as a cautionary tale about the future direction of our sport.

I Man wrote:Goran Cropp died on a single pitch 5.10 trad lead in Washington just 6 years after that amazing feat :?


Yes I heard that Cropp died a few years ago. What a bummer. He was an interesting figure in the whole 96 "drama".
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

- Joe Stettner

"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

- Edward Whymper

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby mtndude3737 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:45 pm

OK, sorry to kick a dead horse/lying dog/can of worms, but I finally finished "The Climb" by Anatoli, and "Ultimate High" by Goran Kropp as suggested by the contributors of this thread. After having read "No Shortcuts to the Top" (Ed Viesturs), and "Into Thin Air" by Krakauer, I decided I liked "Ultimate High" by Goran Kropp the best. Very pure and true to himself, climbing, and exploration in general. A natural honesty comes from that. That being said, they were all excellent books.

You can argue what you want about the whole situation, but I look at it this way: thanks to the publicity, the daring, the mistakes of these mountaineers, their experiences, and their willingness to write about the story, I have become a better mountaineer, a better businessman, and a better person.

No one can argue that point. Read the books and others about mountaineering, learn their lessons, and apply them in your life.
What is there, beyond the mountain, if not the man? - Walter Bonatti

The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes. - Steve House

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Re: Just finished the best book I have ever read.

Postby Tatra » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:02 pm

I have read a lot of climbing books but this one is definitely my favorite. I am Polish and this book is very special for my heart. If you haven’t read it and you like mountaineering and history- you won’t get disappointed.
Freedom Climbers by Bernadette McDonnald—tells the story of a group of extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world's leading Himalayan climbers. It not only chronicles the amazing achievements of a dedicated band of Polish mountaineers, but it explains the hardships from which they grew in their home countries to become the most successful mountaineers of their generation in climbing the world's greatest peaks in the harshest conditions possible - winter expeditions to the 8,000 meter summits of the world's highest mountains. Here is what my favorite climbers said about this book:
“Between 1980 and 1989, Polish climbers were giant, worldwide leaders as high-altitude climbers, especially in the Himalayas. This volume documents those charismatic leaders and their iconic climbs in a defining chapter of Himalayan climbing history.”—Reinhold Messner,
“For many years, we in the climbing community have stood in awe of the accomplishments of Polish climbers. Relatively late into the Himalyan game due to political and monetary restrictions enforced onto them within their own country, the Poles sought the mountains as their escape. It was in fact the hardships they endured within Poland that hardened them physically and emotionally to seek out and endure the toughest climbs in the world. Freedom Climbers is a very enlightening and captivating look at the Polish climbing superstars, what drives them, their amazing accomplishments and their continuing role in pushing the limits in the mountain arena.” –Ed Viesturs

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