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About Ed Viesturs
More info at www.edviesturs.com
Washington resident Ed Viesturs is widely regarded as this country's foremost high-altitude mountaineer. He is familiar to many from the 1996 IMAX Everest Expedition documentary and in 2002, he was awarded the historic Lowell Thomas Award by the Explorer's Club for outstanding achievement in the field of mountaineering. In winning the award, he joined an elite group of climbers including Sir Edmund Hillary. In 1992 he was awarded the American Alpine Club Sowles Awards for his participation in two rescues on K-2.
Viesturs is a professional mountaineer and works as a design consultant for several prominent outdoor equipment manufacturers such as Eddie Bauer and Timberland. He also represents companies such as Rolex and the Seattle Seahawks. He does corporate motivational speeches as well, touching on subjects such as Team Work, Overcoming Major Obstacles, and Planning and Preparation.
Viesturs has successfully reached the summits of all of the world's fourteen 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, an 18 year project he christened Endeavor 8000. His goal was completed on May 12, 2005 with his ascent of Annapurna one of the world's most treacherous peaks. He is one of only a handful of climbers in history (and the only American) to accomplish this. That year Viesturs was awarded National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year.
During the 18 year span to climb the world's highest peaks he went on 29 Himalayan expeditions and reached the summit on 20 of these occasions and stood on the top of Everest seven times. He climbs without benefit of an oxygen tank, which can be burdensome and potentially troublesome. Only a superior conditioned athlete can scale heights of 25,000 feet without artificial oxygen - a fact Viesturs has turned into an important metaphor for his audiences (i.e., that the key to the journey is in the time and energy invested in the preparation).
Viesturs motto has always been that climbing has to be a round trip. All of his planning and focus during his climbs maintains this ethic and he is not shy about turning back from a climb if conditions are too severe. In spite of his conservative attitude Viesturs has been one of the most successful Himalayan climbers in American history. His story is about risk management as well as being patient enough for conditions to allow an ascent. Ultimately, in his words, "The mountain decides whether you climb or not. The art of mountaineering is knowing when to go, when to stay, and when to retreat."
At the start of their 2005 season the Seattle Seahawks football team brought in Viesturs to speak to them about teamwork. The team and coaches incorporated some of his messages and ideas into their practices and games and went on to play in the Super Bowl that season. According to Viesturs, regardless of the industry, teamwork is the same: "It is an implicit trust in, and recognition that the person next to you is No. 1," he explains. "If we're climbing a mountain together and you slip and fall, I'm there to save your life" - which is the ultimate definition of teamwork. Another lesson Viesturs espouses is the importance of perseverance, or going step by step and not getting discouraged when working toward your goal. Viesturs recalls once being just 300 feet away from the top of Mount Everest when he had to turn back.
In October 2005 Viesturs best selling autobiography "No Shortcuts To The Top" was published and released by Random House Books. The book covers in detail Ed Viesturs' career as a mountaineer, how he prepared for his expeditions and his philosophy about how he managed the inherent risks.
Viesturs was born in 1959 and now lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington with his wife of 13 years, Paula, and their children. He continues to go on adventures. On May 19th 2009 he made his 7th ascent of Everest. Most recently on July 8th 2009 made his 203rd ascent of 14,410' Mt. Rainier while guiding Seahawks Coach Jim Mora and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
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“From the drama of the peaks, to the struggle of making a living as a professional climber, to the basic how-tos of life at 26,000 feet, No Shortcuts to the Top is fascinating reading.”—Aron Ralston, author of Between a Rock and a Hard Place and subject of the film 127 Hours
For eighteen years Ed Viesturs pursued climbing’s holy grail: to stand atop the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, without the aid of bottled oxygen. But No Shortcuts to the Top is as much about the man who would become the first American to achieve that goal as it is about his stunning quest. As Viesturs recounts the stories of his most harrowing climbs, he reveals a man torn between the flat, safe world he and his loved ones share and the majestic and deadly places where only he can go.
A preternaturally cautious climber who once turned back 300 feet from the top of Everest but who would not shrink from a peak (Annapurna) known to claim the life of one climber for every two who reached its summit, Viesturs lives by an unyielding motto, “Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” It is with this philosophy that he vividly describes fatal errors in judgment made by his fellow climbers as well as a few of his own close calls and gallant rescues. And, for the first time, he details his own pivotal and heroic role in the 1996 Everest disaster made famous in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air.
In addition to the raw excitement of Viesturs’s odyssey, No Shortcuts to the Top is leavened with many funny moments revealing the camaraderie between climbers. It is more than the first full account of one of the staggering accomplishments of our time; it is a portrait of a brave and devoted family man and his beliefs that shaped this most perilous and magnificent pursuit.
“Gripping . . . reveals a good deal about the rarefied noble-gonzo world of high-altitude mountaineering.”—The New York Times
Ed Viesturs, one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers, explores the remarkable history of K2 and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time, he probes the mountain's most memorable sagas in order to illustrate lessons about the fundamental questions mountaineering raises—questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one's teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory. Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and got caught in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death before Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott's.
Focusing on seven of the mountain's most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs's personal collection and from historical sources, this is the definitive account of the world's ultimate mountain, and of the lessons that can be gleaned from struggling toward its elusive summit.
In The Mountain, veteran world-class climber and bestselling author Ed Viesturs—the only American to have climbed all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks—trains his sights on Mount Everest in richly detailed accounts of expeditions that are by turns personal, harrowing, deadly, and inspiring.
The highest mountain on earth, Everest remains the ultimate goal for serious high-altitude climbers. Viesturs has gone on eleven expeditions to Everest, spending more than two years of his life on the mountain and reaching the summit seven times. No climber today is better poised to survey Everest’s various ascents—both personal and historic. Viesturs sheds light on the fate of Mallory and Irvine, whose 1924 disappearance just 800 feet from the summit remains one of mountaineering’s greatest mysteries, as well as the multiply tragic last days of Rob Hall and Scott Fischer in 1996, the stuff of which Into Thin Air was made.
Informed by the experience of one who has truly been there, The Mountain affords a rare glimpse into that place on earth where Heraclitus’s maxim—“Character is destiny”—is proved time and again.
“Viesturs and Roberts have written an exhaustively researched and wonderfully compelling history of the most fascinating and dangerous of the Himalayan giants.”—David Breashers, veteran mountaineer and documentary filmmaker, director of IMAX film Everest
As a high school student, Ed Viesturs read and was captivated by the French climber Maurice Herzog’s famous and grisly account of the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950. When he began his own campaign to climb the world’s fourteen highest peaks in the late 1980s, Viesturs looked forward with trepidation to undertaking Annapurna himself. Two failures to summit in 2000 and 2002 made Annapurna his nemesis. His successful 2005 ascent was the triumphant capstone of his climbing quest.
In The Will to Climb Viesturs and co-author David Roberts bring the extraordinary challenges of Annapurna to vivid life through edge-of-your-seat accounts of the greatest climbs in the mountain’s history, and of his own failed attempts and eventual success. In the process Viesturs ponders what Annapurna reveals about some of our most fundamental moral and spiritual questions—questions, he believes, that we need to answer to lead our lives well.
In vetta senza scorciatoie racconta la sua storia: la nascita della passione per la montagna, che lo ha allontanato dalla professione di veterinario; l’esperienza di guida alpina, che gli ha insegnato il valore della sicurezza, per sé e per gli altri; la difficile strada per diventare uno scalatore professionista, lui che si guadagnava da vivere facendo il carpentiere. E, di qui, gli sforzi estenuanti, la preparazione inflessibile, le imprevedibili difficoltà affrontate per conquistare, una per una, le quattordici vette. Compresa l’ultima, l’Annapurna, il suo spettro e la sua nemesi. Un percorso fatto di vittorie, ma anche di errori che gli sono quasi costati la vita, di incontri e personaggi indimenticabili, di soccorsi e salvataggi (alcuni epici come quello sull’Everest nel 1996). Sullo sfondo, la sua filosofia della montagna, improntata a una fortissima responsabilità verso se stesso e i compagni, istinto nel fiutare le situazioni di pericolo estremo, capacità di distinguere il limite che separa il coraggio dalla sconsideratezza, la motivazione dalla follia, la perseveranza dalla cieca ambizione. Una linea impercettibile, sottile come l’aria nella Zona della Morte. E, su quella linea, Ed Viesturs è un maestro.