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

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 (35 customer reviews)

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Review

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

Product 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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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
Format:Hardcover
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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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Human Tale 4 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book! Anybody who has struggled on a mountain, been gripped by fear or lain in their tent worrying about the upcoming day will connect with this author. The little digressions into other mountaineers' experiences and his family and private life make this book of broad appeal.
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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
By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and inspiring 21 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you ever want to know what it's like being a struggling mountaineer, worrying about lack of money, stressed about giving up a career you've worked so hard to achieve and just plain scared, exhausted, grief stricken AND elated by the high mountains, this book is for you.

Ed Viesturs, is a mountaineering legend. I'm not going to list his accomplishments as it would take too long but let's just say, the guy, has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt! He also comes across as a real nice guy, succeeding through sheer hard work and effort in a world and at a time when professional mountaineers were about as rare as astronauts. He also shows that in today's cynical and money driven world, it's possible for a 'nice guy' to reach the top of the tree and stay there!

The style of writing is excellent and gripping. Nothing is too long or gushing, just simply written with a genuine emotion to accompany the deed.

Ed, you will evermore be an inspiration to me.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far-out stuff indeed 13 Jan 2007
By Mars
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Anyone who needs some kind of inspiration for whatever in life ought to read this. Ed Viesturs is a hard charger, there's no two ways about it. His extreme motivation, which led him to summit the top 14 peaks in the world, is clearly visible in his writing. But it's not just his desire and drive that have an impact on the reader, it's also a downright good story.

It takes a certain kind of human to walk to the top of Everest, I believe, let alone all 14 highest peaks. It is an epic adventure story that must be told, and Ed tells it just fine.
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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
Format:Paperback
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a mountaineer, a must for any one that enjoys climbing
Published 3 days ago by John Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & enjoyable
Really enjoyed this book. I've read many of the Everest books & various other similar books and liked the way this one was written and covered many aspects of Ed's journey on his... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Simon
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable
OK so Mr. Viesturs isn't going to win any Pullitzer prizes for his writing but he succeeds in telling his awesome story with aplomb. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Really interesting read that I couldn't put down from start to finish. Ed viesters has done it all. I Highly recommend.
Published 2 months ago by Waity
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Have not read the book yet, as it has been lent out,but it is apparently not as good as 'Touching the Void', and Simpson seems to be using it to settle scores!
Published 6 months ago by Joan Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
A must read can't put it down, not a book to start reading when your trying to pack for a move. If you want a great read then get it.
Published 8 months ago by Rod cooper
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read and well written
Well written and a good read for those that enjoy hearing about the not inconsiderable challenges of climbing the 8000m peaks and Ed's discipline to know when to turn back is... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Clive Girling
3.0 out of 5 stars Seems like a suitable book
Bought as a leaving present for a keen mountaineer who seemed to be happy with it when we gave it to him.
Published 11 months ago by MusicMan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Loved everything about this book. I have never climbed a mountain and never will, but after reading this I felt like I had been to the top of Everest and the other highest... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Chunkhorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
Just couldnt put it down! Events are so well described you fell really involved! Ed gives inspiration to myself as a newbie
Published 15 months ago by marti Wood
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“I’ve learned in climbing that you don’t ‘conquer’ anything. Mountains are not conquered and should be treated with respect and humility. If we take what the mountain gives, have patience and desire, and are prepared, then the mountains will permit us to reach their highest peaks. I believe a lot of things are like that in life.” &quote;
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“Just because you love the mountains doesn’t mean the mountains love you.” &quote;
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The formula: Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory. &quote;
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