30 сентября 2015 16:38

Kazakhstani mountaineer in Hollywood film, Everest


Anatoli Boukreev ©film.ru Anatoli Boukreev ©film.ru

Legendary Soviet and Kazakhstani climber Anatoli Boukreev is one of the characters in the Hollywood film, Everest, Tengrinews reports citing Film.ru.

Legendary Soviet and Kazakhstani climber Anatoli Boukreev is one of the characters in the Hollywood film, Everest, Tengrinews reports citing Film.ru.

Anatoli Boukreev was one of the participants of the tragedy on the slopes of Mount Everest on May 10, 1996 (the film Everest is based on real events). 33 people in 3 different expeditions started from the last camp (Camp IV) to assault the highest mountain on Earth. Most of them reached the summit, but five of them did not make it back because of the shortage of time and a blizzard on the slopes of Everest. Anatoli Boukreev was a lead climbing guide for the Mountain Madness expedition led by Scott Fischer. All the participants of Fischer's expedition reached the summit and all, except for Fischer himself, survived. Trying to save his clients, Boukreev climbed back up and rescued almost lifeless climbers who stranded in the blizzard above 8,000 meters. Boukreev personally saved the lives of three people - those who were able to move and whom he was able to reach.

However, in Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest, Boukreev despite his feat is not a protagonist, but only a third-rate character. The reason is, writes Film.ru, the view on the tragedy presented by the American journalist Jon Krakauer, who participated in the Adventure Consultants expedition - one of the three teams that were ascending that day - and wrote an article for  Outside magazine, and later a book called Into Thin Air. The main "villain" in both the article and the book was Boukreev, whom Krakauer criticized for his decision to descend ahead of other participants. Boukreev's supporters argue that his return to camp was part of the pre-agreed expedition plan - he was to return and meet the climbers at Camp Four and the other two guides were to walk them down. The early descent allowed him enough rest to make rescue attempts and lead several mountaineers back to the camp through the blizzard. 

Anatoly Boukreev was one of the best climbers of the twentieth century. He is the only one who was able to climb four eight-thousander peaks (i.e. peaks higher than 8,000 m) in 80 consecutive days. He is the only person in the world who went up into the "zone of death" without an oxygen mask 21 times. Almost on each of his ascent, he brought a flag of Kazakhstan.

Nazarbayev and Boukreev

Boukreev (on the right) as a personal guide of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev (in the middle) during the ascent to Abay Peak not far from Almaty in 1995. Photo courtesy of the presidential press-service.

Anatoly Boukreev was born on January 16, 1958 in the city of Korkino in Chelyabinsk Oblast in the Russian SFSR of the Soviet Union. After graduating from Chelyabinsk’s University of Pedagogy with a major in physics, he went to Kazakhstan, to be closer to the mountains. For a long time he lived at the state farm "Mountain gardener" near Almaty. For several years he worked in the regional Children and Youth Sport School as a ski coach, and then until 1993, as a trainer and mountain instructor in CSKA Almaty. As part of the Kazakhstan’s national team Boukreev climbed his first seven-thousander in the Pamirs. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, he became a citizen of Kazakhstan.

Anatoly died on December 25, 1997 in an avalanche together with a Kazakhstani cinematographer Dmitry Sobolev during a winter ascent of his 12th eight-thousander Annapurna in Nepal. Boukreev was awarded the Soviet Order "For Personal Courage" (1989), Kazakhstan's medal "Yerlіgі Ushіn" (For Courage) (1998), the David A. Sowles Memorial Award given to him by the American Alpine Club for saving people in the mountains risking his own life (December 6, 1997), and a public commendation of the House of Representatives (1997).

Memorial chorten to Boukreev at Annapurna base-camp, Boukreev's own quote reads: "Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion."

By Indira Urazova

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