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No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks [Kindle Edition]

Ed Viesturs , David Roberts
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This gripping and triumphant memoir from the author of The Mountain follows a living legend of extreme mountaineering as he makes his assault on history, one 8,000-meter summit at a time.

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.

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Product Description


Ed Viesturs is not merely one of our strongest mountaineers; he s also one of the most remarkable. He s demonstrated that it s possible to climb the world s highest peaks without taking reckless chances, and without sacrificing one s honor or integrity. He has never hesitated to help other climbers in need, even when it meant putting himself in danger or sacrificing his own opportunity to achieve a summit. Ed, simply put, is a genuine American hero. --Jon Krakauer

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

Ed Viesturs the first American to climb all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks without bottled oxygen is an animal. A human animal blessed with enormous strength balanced by intelligence, honesty, and a heart of gold. And besides, HE IS A NICE GUY. This is a great read for those of us who climb, those who want to learn to climb and live to tell about it, and those who like great adventures. --Jim Whittaker, first American to climb Mount Everest

About the Author

ED VIESTURS still climbs and seeks out new adventures. He lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his wife and three children. DAVID ROBERTS is a veteran author of mountaineering books, including On the Ridge Between Life and Death.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 931 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (17 Oct. 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000MAH5OM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Nice Guy 12 Dec. 2006
A thoroughly enjoyable read. It does not concentrate solely on the Ed Viesturs attempt to climb all the world's 8,000 metre peaks, but also includes some insights into his personal life and feelings, and the drive which enabled him to achieve his dream. There is just enough technical information for the reader to understand how the climbs are achieved. What does show throughout the book is Ed Viesturs total respect for other climbers and his willingness to recognise their achievements. He appears not to like being called a "nice guy" which is a pity, because that is clearly what he is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top class - but not typical 31 Mar. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In 2005 after 18 years of Himalayan expeditions Ed Viesturs became the first American to summit all 14 peaks higher than 8,000 metres, accomplishing what he termed `Endeavor 8000' (sic). As a boy he had been inspired to climb big mountains by Maurice Herzog's book on the first ascent of Annapurna - a mountain to become his `bogey' summit - his last to be climbed after two failures, yet after success on all others including 6 ascents of Everest. On its own the coverage of his Himalayan odyssey is worthy of a 5-star rating, but `No Shortcuts to the Top' has greater breadth and depth. It is Ed Viesturs' compelling autobiography, written with assistance from renowned author-mountaineer David Roberts - and it is the story of a remarkable man.

Ed Viesturs was determined to summit all 8,000ers without reliance on oxygen - and to do so safely! Observance of his own mantra "Getting to the top is optional ... Getting down is mandatory" is demonstrated by a willingness to retreat, and to the facts that he was never seriously injured, never needed to be rescued - and never lost a partner! In the mountains Ed Viesturs' approach to risk control is exemplary, and in his writing he avoids romanticising - so making him very special in terms of Himalayan climbing and mountaineering literature.

`No Shortcuts to the Top' embraces Ed Viesturs' childhood, education, vocation, guiding etc. and it describes his feelings and reactions with honest explanations of family relations, struggles, emotions etc. He does not openly compete with others but he is highly motivated and goal orientated - very competitive with himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Highly' recommended for the intelligent climber 19 Jan. 2011
No Shortcuts to the Top is Ed Viesturs' autobiography starting briefly in his early life, capturing the roots of his drive, focus and fitness, before going into more detail on the highs and lows involved in his mountaineering career path, the focus of which is mostly around the 16 years where he climbed the worlds 14 highest peaks without supplimental oxygen.

I don't like to disagree with other reviews - each to their own.. however, some of the low ratings are based on their expectations of the type of book they were buying, rather than the actual content of it. If you buy a book on gardening, you can't complain when it doesn't tell you which wild berries are edible in the Lake District. No Shortcuts to the Top is about Ed Viesturs' personal struggle to reach his goals, giving details of the events which transpired over the years, what he did right and wrong, and what he loved and regretted. Although the book goes into appropriate depth regarding some of the tragic events he was a part of (several of them quite famous events), it is not a book based on a singular tragedy.

Personally I found the book very informative and inspiring. In particular I would recommend it to any aspiring mountaineers who enjoy the traditional style of mountaineering, rather than the modern speed-run style. Ed Viesturs is exactly the kind of climber you would want with you in the mountains.. experienced, patient and above all, he knows when the risks outweigh the rewards. No mountain is worth dying for. Also, it was mentioned that his book was little more than a bragging session, but take it from someone who absolutely hates big egos and braggards; I found his writing to be very forthright and honest, which is exactly what you want in a book like this.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to climb Safely! 27 Nov. 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is really different from the usual climbing fare. Ed Viesturs is a climber who was able to turn back at critical points, an attribute that few share. I'd throughly recommend this as an alternative to the derring do of most climbing books. He seems to be a very determinded as well as displayhing a rare type of courage -- the courage to say no. A very refreshing read.

It is basically his biography starting with his early years and then on to the stories behind his ascents of the world's 14 8000m peaks. The first American to achieve this feat
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An acceptable risk 22 Jun. 2009
Negative publicity created by the Everest disaster of 1996 and the controversial story of David Sharp, probably the two most infamous mountaineering misadventures has helped paint high altitude summit baggers as selfish and lacking morality, focussed on nothing but reaching the top to claim another victory over nature.
Ed Vistuers is the polar (no pun intended) opposite of that perception. One of the most successful high alititude climbers of all time, Ed has achieved his goals by sticking to hard and fast rules, the first and foremost being, getting home is far more important than getting to the top.
The result is a book that is a refreshing reminder that not all climbers suffer from tunnel vision and that nice guys can win.
Despite his humility and understated style of writing (He writes in such a way that makes the reader believe that may be they could also achieve what he has by dogged determination and sticking to the golden rules) what Vistuers has accomplished is quite remarkable. He has climbed the 14 highest mountains on earth, some more than once including Everest 7 times, and all without supplemental oxygen.
The book is fascinating and almost impossible to put down. You'll finish it wishing he was your mate and you could just give him a call and pop down the pub for a beer with him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but clinical
Like his climbing style (pragmatic, rational and safe) Ed's writing style is very well constructed but lacks a little panache. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Metronomicon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As usual Viesturs writes a cracking book.
Published 11 days ago by MARILYN
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book, great service
Published 19 days ago by matt fairbrass
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Simply gobsmacking. These climbers are of another planet!!!
Published 29 days ago by Rangawolf
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this but it did get a bit lost in ...
I enjoyed this but it did get a bit lost in itself towards the end. Just for personal interest I would like to have read a bit more about what he did to train for each climb but... Read more
Published 3 months ago by H A Pidgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars A great account
I have read a lot of mountaineering books and this has been one of my favourites, the author's personality is evident and he doesn't get too technical for the armchair reader... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Je Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing.
Fantastic achievement. Not only a freak of nature in the mountains but an all round good guy.
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Colin Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, good insight to climbing the highest peaks ...
A great read, good insight to climbing the highest peaks in the world, includes anecdotes about the best bits of Ed's experience rather than a step-by-step guide to how he did it.
Published 8 months ago by Brad
5.0 out of 5 stars The think I love most about this book is Ed Visteurs attitude towards...
The think I love most about this book is Ed Visteurs attitude towards climbing the highest peaks in the world. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Thomas Baggott
5.0 out of 5 stars None Better, Viesturs Writes Superb Accounts
Simply the best, you have to read all of Ed's work
Published 10 months ago by monxton13
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