Anatoli Boukreev was born in January 16, 1958. Born in the region of Korkino, which was part of the USSR at that time. He was born in a poor family and had to go through a lot of hardship during his childhood. He completed his high school in 1975. After high school, he attended Chelyabinsk University for Pedagogy. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1979 with a major in physics. Boukreev was of adventurous nature from childhood. He always had a keen interest in skiing and had completed a cross-country skiing coaching program in the same year he finished his bachelor’s degree.
After finishing his studies up to graduation, Boukreev started his interest in mountain climbing. To pursue his dreams of being a mountaineer, he moved to Alma-Ata Kazakh SSR, which is present day Kazakhstan. He went and explored around the Tian Shan mountain range. He joined the Kazakhstani mountaineering team in 1985. In 1987, Kazakhstan. After the breakup of Soviet Union, he became a citizen of Kazakhstan in 1991.
After his experience in his Kazakhstan, Boukreev started working as a commercial guide in the 1990’s. Later he got introduced to Scott Fischer and starting working for his company, Mountain Madness and was a crucial part of the 1996 Everest disaster. He was one of the peoples who survived and played a major role in rescuing the lives of others.
Boukreev was an accomplished mountaineer but was never recognized as such before he got in the spotlight after being a survivor in the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. He has achieved a lot of climbing accomplishments throughout his exceptional career.
He climbed the Lenin Peak (7,134m) as a solo ascent. His first 8000m experience was while climbing Kanchenjunga(8,556m) in 1989. During his expedition to climb Denali, Boukreev climbed with other mountaineers but, had a slight bad feeling when he had to borrow equipment due to his economic circumstances. He was successful in reaching the summit but, he felt the urge to climb it again. So, he again tried a solo expedition to Denali in 1990 and completed the ascent in ten and a half hours were seasoned climbers would take three to four days. It was regarded as a great feat and was noted by Climbing Magazine in a 1990 issue. Boukreev continued climbing famous summits, he reached the summit of K2 in 1993 and later joined Scott Fischer’s expedition as lead climbing guide for Mountain Madness in 1996. After the disaster struck,Boukreev was the first one to descend and reach the base camp after summitting Everest, he came back and single-handedly rescued three other members from the expedition who might have died without his help. All six of the Mountain Madness clients survived the disaster. He was regarded as a hero, but also contradicted for not trying to save other members from the other expedition team.
After the Everest Disaster, Boukreev continued his mountaineering career. He climbed Lhotse(8516m) in the same year in a solo ascent before returning to America.
For his saving act in the Everest disaster, he was awarded with David A. Sowles Memorial Award by American Alpine Club.
After three weeks of receiving the award, Boukreev started his conquest to climb the south face of Annapurna | (8,091m) with Simone Moro, a well-known and accomplished mountaineer as his climbing partner. They also had a filming partner, Dimitri Sobolev, who was a cinematographer. During the ascent, when they were fixing ropes at an altitude of 5,700m. Disaster struck in the form of an avalanche. Moro was able to survive it as he stayed on top of the avalanche but Boukreev and Sobolev were nowhere to be found. Several attempts were made to reach the avalanche site by aerial means but the weather in that time forced the rescue missions to wait. After lots of attempts, they couldn’t be found and Boukreev’s girlfriend who had flown hearing the news of the avalanche issued a statement from Kathmandu, “This is the end. there are no hopes of finding him alive.”
There is a memorial chorten to Boukreev at the site of Annapurna base-camp , including his quotation : “ Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.