No Shortcuts to the Top Climbing the World's 14 Highest

No Shortcuts to the Top Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks This gripping and triumphant memoir follows a living legend of extreme mountaineering as he makes his assault on history one 8000 meter summit at a timeFor eighteen years Ed Viesturs pursued climbing’s holy grail to stand atop the world’s fourteen 8000 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 uest 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 goA 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 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

10 thoughts on “No Shortcuts to the Top Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks

  1. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    Although there is no official series of the Everest disaster of 1996 where 8 people died in a blizzard This book Krakauer's Into Thin Air Boukreev's The Climb Tragic Ambitions on Everest Kropp's Ultimate High My Everest Odysseyand Clint Willis's Climb Stories of Survival from Rock Snow and Ice plus a couple I've delved into all read like a series All of them reference the same people and the events of that tragic climb on Everest It's very odd reading about the same cast and catastrophe from different points of view and all of them accusing others of negligence at best and putting self ambition first at worst It is impossible to know if they are all true and just seen from different angles much as witnesses do in a court case or if one or of them are covering up for themselves or friends Finally reviewed 21st May 2019 after comment 11 original non review 7 May 2015

  2. Judd Judd says:

    I got the opportunity to climb with Ed Viesturs on Rainier in July 2010 It was by accident and only for half an hour I didn't know who he was at the time but as he welcomed me onto his rope halfway up Cathedral Gap I was struck by his charisma and positivity as I struggled with the thin air and the fat kid spilling his last two meals on the rocks behind me As we climbed he continually called out encouragements to the middle aged man just behind on the rope I didn't know who he was but I recognized him as someone special on the mountainAfter returning to Utah I looked him up and found this book I am now stunned that I was lucky enough to climb with someone this great and a bit disappointed I didn't get his autograph while I ate pizza at the next table after the climbWithout a doubt one of the best books about determination and the love for mountaineering An honest recounting of a decade long journey to climb all 8000 meter mountains without supplement oxygen

  3. Maria V. Snyder Maria V. Snyder says:

    I am an armchair adventurer I love reading these stories about hardship freezing cold temperatures dangerous conditions and general misery while I'm wrapped up in a blanket cozy warm and with a steaming cup of tea nearby The Deadliest Catch was one of my favorite TV shows I'm also so very impressed by the author's accomplishment to summit the world's 14 highest peaks without supplemental oxygen This book is not just a blow by blow of his successes and failures on the mountains but about his life's journey to that point from being inspired at age 14 to finally reaching his goal at age 46 It's about despite becoming a veterinarian he was strong enough to walk away because climbing was his true passion instead of earning a good living working with animals he spent his time building houses and scrounging for sponsors to pay for his trips to the HimalayaOne of the best parts was learning what mountaineers do when they're camped on this tiny ledge at 24000 feet and nature calls what they wear and eat and how a five pound tent can be the difference between life and death I've always been curious about thatFor those who enjoyed Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer you'll like this as well He has a chapter on the 1996 Everest disaster and gives you another perspective on what went wrong Here's my favorite passage from the book Look it took me eighteen years to complete a very difficult endeavor Viewed as a whole climbing all fourteen 8000ers referring to peaks that are 8000 meters or higher would have seemed almost impossible but I took it one day at a time one step at a time I was passionate about what I did and I never gave upWhatever challenge you have before you can be accomplished in the same fashion whether it takes a week two months or a year If you look at the challenge as a whole it may seem insuperable but if you break it down into tangible steps it can seem reasonable and ultimately achievableHe's right I've used that same persistence for my writing career when I sit down to write I don't think I'm going to write a novel That would scare the adverbs out of me No I think I'm going to write 1000 words that's my goal and if I get done then I'm happy

  4. Becky Becky says:

    While I absolutely respect Ed Viesturs not just for his accomplishments in mountaineering but also for his efforts to maximize safety to rescue stranded climbers tohelp scientists understand HACE and HAPE and for his many MANY donations to wonderful charities this book was just sort of ho hum His compartmentalization on mountains while necessary does not necessarily make for great narration in a story Not that I want to capitalize on the heartache and terror he has seen but it all felt so distant in the narration and it left it a bit dry I think Ed would be a very engaging speaker but this book left me wanting Also the first half jumped around uite a bit in its story telling it was very jarring and off putting I grew bored uickly with the repetitive simple sentence structure and it became increasingly hard for me to pick the book up and continue readingNow this book is still a great read for those interested in mountaineering There is a lot of good philosophy and tactics for mountaineering in here but I just wouldnt expect to be riveted like you can be reading Into Thin Air

  5. Cory verner Cory verner says:

    It's impossible not to respect Ed Viesturs accomplishments That does not mean you need to love his writing I found the book interesting primarily because I am passionate about climbing mountains myself There is a lot of back story here that although interesting and possibly even necessary for a book like this is a bit tiresome I would have preferred to have had the climbs described in detail I'm not sure that would have pleased other though You can't win with a book like thisI will say I'm glad I read it

  6. Vanessa Vanessa says:

    BookRiot 2018 Read Harder Challenge #6 A book about natureI read the reviews so I know there is a whole cult of people myself included who can't get enough of mountain climbing books ever since they read Into Thin Air A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster Hey Here's another one Actually if you've read Krakauer's book Ed Viesturs' name should be familiar to you He was at Everest in 1996 making the IMAX film called surprisingly Everest with David Breashears and participated in the rescue effort after the killer storm that killed eight people So the guy is a hero He's also one of the few people in the world who has climbed all 14 8000 meter peaks that works out to 26000 feet and some change basically all of the mountains in the Death Zone and all located either in the Himalayas or the Karakoram And he climbed them all without supplemental oxygen You should know this also serves as Viesturs' memoir so while there are plenty of mountain climbing stories there are also stories about his life Some of that is still interesting Viesturs' infatuation with climbing began when he read Maurice Herzog's account of being the first team to successfully summit Annapurna called surprisingly Annapurna he completed veterinary school and then barely worked as a vet at all because it got in the way of his climbing obsession he was friends and had climbed with both Rob Hall and Scott Fischer who both died on Everest in '96 He also has a chapter about the Everest story including his opinion on what happened If you've read and liked Into Thin Air I'd say this part in particular is a must read But he also does talk some about his wife and kids Which I don't begrudge the guy his happiness; I'm not a complete dick It's just that I bought a ticket for a mountain climbing ride and that's what I wanted to take I might have skimmed some of the family parts I did want to add that a few reviewers thought Viesturs was conceited or seemed full of himself I didn't find that to be true at all He's just very confident and a ridiculous over achiever so I think those attributes are getting misread It's kind of a shame because he seems like a nice guy who would be genuinely surprised and a little hurt to hear that He's been a public figure for years though he's probably used to itThis is worthy grist for your mountain climbing book obsession I might pick up his other books on K2 andor Annapurna Those peaks Annapurna in particular are considerably statistically dangerous to climb than Everest and therefore much fascinating

  7. Lori Lori says:

    While I found reading about all the mountain expeditions interesting I had a problem connecting with the author I think he reminded the reader too many times about how great he was at making decisions what an incredible athlete he was how attractive he was to the ladies He very well may be all of these things and he has accomplished incredible feats but I found his propensity to brag exhausting at times I think a friend of mine who also enjoys mountaineering books warned me away from this one but I didn't realize this was the same book until now

  8. Dannie Dannie says:

    The stories jumped all over the place both in chronology and in length And although the message is about getting down the mountain safely the theme isn't interesting enough to play through the whole book The author isn't arrogant but he does appear to be self centered which seems to be pretty common for serious mountaineers or elite athletes

  9. Amar Pai Amar Pai says:

    Ed Viesturs is kind of a dweeb but I have to admit he's a workhorse superman One foot in front of the other repeat repeat repeat He said at the top of some summits you have to take 15 breaths for every step Damn

  10. Agnese Agnese says:

    The life of a mountaineer and his pursuit of the fourteen 8000ers A very engaging book that succeeds in depicting the passion determination and emotional waves that animate Viesturs and lead him repeatedly to the top of the world and from there with the same intensity back home The last chapter is an unnecessary reiteration of the meaning of mountaineering in which the author feels the need to explain maybe first of all to himself the significance of a life spent in the accomplishment of extreme enterprises which may look like the selfish choice of an ambitious individual But being true to oneself whatever it takes honest and generous as Viesturs appears from this account is a meaningful way of life I also feel that the references to his private life at the end of the book are superfluous they are too few to depict it properly and they sound forced as if the author thought it necessary to give a tribute to his family The anecdotes about his family that are scattered in the book are enough to give an idea of the strong bonds and mutual understanding within his family no need for any explanations

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