Into Thin Air

Anatoli Boukreev Character Analysis

A Russian climbing guide working for Scott Fischer. At various points in Into Thin Air, Krakauer criticizes Boukreev for what he sees as Boukreev’s overly distant relationship with his clients: instead of paying close attention to the clients, he has a bad habit of climbing ahead, leaving them to fend for themselves. Krakauer further implies that Boukreev’s refusal to hang close behind led some of the clients to blunder into a snowstorm on the night of May 10. However, Krakauer also credits Boukreev with incredible bravery for venturing out into the storm later that night. Boukreev’s behavior remains the subject of much controversy in the mountaineering community—some agree with Krakauer that he was neglectful, while others insist that, by moving at his own pace and conserving energy, he was instrumental in saving clients’ lives, not endangering them.

Anatoli Boukreev Quotes in Into Thin Air

The Into Thin Air quotes below are all either spoken by Anatoli Boukreev or refer to Anatoli Boukreev. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Into Thin Air published in 1999.
Chapter 11 Quotes

"If client cannot climb Everest without big help from guide," Boukreev told me, "this client should not be on Everest. Otherwise there can be big problems up high."

Related Characters: Anatoli Boukreev (speaker), Jon Krakauer
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 15 Quotes

Boukreev's susceptibility to the cold was doubtless greatly exacerbated by the fact that he wasn't using supplemental oxygen; in the absence of gas he simply couldn't stop to wait for slow clients on the summit ridge without courting frostbite and hypothermia.

Related Characters: Jon Krakauer (speaker), Anatoli Boukreev
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
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Anatoli Boukreev Character Timeline in Into Thin Air

The timeline below shows where the character Anatoli Boukreev appears in Into Thin Air. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...and he’s utterly exhausted. Krakauer has arrived at the summit of Mount Everest with Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian climbing guide, and Andy Harris, a guide on the New Zealand team to... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Later on, Krakauer notes, people will wonder why he, Boukreev, and Harris continued to climb down from Everest and ignored the signs of bad weather.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...gifted climbers: Ed Viesturs (an American who’s starring in an IMAX film about Everest), Anatoli Boukreev (a guide working for Fischer), Ang Babu, who’s working for the South African team, and... (full context)
Chapter 11
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...HACE. Fischer had already to return to Base Camp because one of his guides, Anatoli Boukreev, slept late and ignored the clients, instead of paying close attention to them as Fischer... (full context)
Chapter 13
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...Krakauer is with three guides, Andy Harris, Neal Beidleman (working for Scott Fischer), and Anatoli Boukreev (also working for Fischer), approaching the Hillary Step, the last major obstacle before the summit... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...every three or four paces. After about half an hour, they reach the Hillary Step. Boukreev, the senior guide, goes first, extending a rope behind him as he walks. Although Boukreev... (full context)
Chapter 14
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Around 3:30 pm, Krakauer leaves the South Summit, without either Harris or Boukreev (who are helping other clients). He asks Mike Groom, one of Hall’s guides, for permission... (full context)
Chapter 15
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...around 1:25 pm with his client, Martin Adams. There, they find Andy Harris and Anatoli Boukreev (Krakauer departed eight minutes previously). Beidleman is an aerospace engineer, as well as one of... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
The three guides—Fischer, Boukreev, and Beidleman—know that they need to tell their clients to come down before they reached... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...Around 1 pm, on the way up, he crosses paths with Martin Adams and Anatoli Boukreev, as well as Krakauer and Andy Harris. Although Fischer is visibly exhausted and sickly-looking, nobody... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...they’d all freeze. Beidleman leads the clients back to Camp Four, where he finds Anatoli Boukreev. (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Commercialization Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
That afternoon, Anatoli Boukreev had behaved extremely unusually for a professional guide; he climbed far ahead of his clients... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
On the evening of May 10, Anatoli Boukreev sets out by himself to try to find the clients that Beidleman had left (including... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Boukreev continues to evacuate clients one-by-one. He succeeds in bringing Sandy Pittman back to Camp Four,... (full context)
Chapter 17
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
...get help. He makes it back to Camp Four around midnight, and immediately informs Anatoli Boukreev of Fischer and Makalu’s condition. Then, he goes into his tent and falls asleep “like... (full context)
Chapter 19
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...Hall. Meanwhile, Beidleman assembles what’s left of Fischer’s clients and orders them to descend. Anatoli Boukreev remains behind to wait for Fischer. Beidleman helps the clients down the mountain, with the... (full context)
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Around 5 pm on the same day, Anatoli Boukreev goes out on a solo mission to find Fischer. He finds Fischer around 7 pm,... (full context)
Epilogue
Danger and Mortality Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
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Individualism and the Group Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
...the arrogant Westerners who came to “conquer” Everest. And since the 1996 Everest disaster, Anatoli Boukreev has been involved in a bus accident that gravely damaged one of his eyes. (full context)