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on 20 October 2010
I understand the perspectives of two of the reviewers on here that they found this book dull. That is not to say that I agree however, I found it informative and more academic as well as easily readable. It's always more exciting when it goes wrong is probably the reason that the odd person has found this book dull.

I however thought it a good informative and measured run-down of this successful and dare I say it sensible climber. If you were entertaining climbing high peaks and conducting a bit of summit bagging then you could do a lot worse than read this guys book and follow his example.

'Getting up is voluntary but getting down is mandatory' or words to that effect...
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on 23 November 2014
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 although there is plenty of detail. I liked the psychological discussion and also the description of the necessary corporate input. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in mountaineering or other extreme travel.
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on 15 September 2014
The think I love most about this book is Ed Visteurs attitude towards climbing the highest peaks in the world. You can argue for weeks that he is just the lucky side of a statistic, but the amount of times he has turned back on expeditions and his personal motto that "getting up is optional, getting down is mandatory" speaks volumes about his character. A great and compelling read.
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on 28 September 2009
I really enjoyed this book! Not since reading Touching the Void has a book interested me so much. Highly recommended!
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on 28 May 2014
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. I struggled to put this book down, gripped as I was by the story of his journey to the top of each of the 14 highest mountains on earth. Worth the purchase price of the book? Unquestionably, yes!
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on 3 April 2013
I read Into Thin Air and it brought back memories of my youth of reading Everest the Hard Way, going to a presentation by Chris Bonnington and reading about other climbing exploits. I bought this as a "main course" to follow Into Thin Air.

I have never climbed, but have been to the Alps many times and have stood at the foot of the Eiger and thought how would anyone set about going up that. This book really brings to life the calculated risk taking that gets the author to the summit. He clearly has a great respect for his environment and the people who have helped him and tells his story with great humility.

Would recommend this to anyone interested in climbing but also anyone interested in how to achieve their own less lofty goals.
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on 24 January 2010
This books' title should re-read as "Humility at the Top" - and thats the sense I got while reading one of the foremost mountaineering legend - Ed Viestur's account. The other part which really bowled me over was his BALANCED and PRACTICAL approach to climbing reducing the chance of unnecessary human error. "Its optional to get to the summit but mandatory to get down" is the driving philosophy of Viesturs - which he broke just once and quickly resolved to always stick to it - no matter what temptation came in front of him. "Patience" is another quality which got him to pace his life ambition - of climbing the 14 highest peaks in the world, taking a good long 18 years to do it.
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on 2 July 2015
Like his climbing style (pragmatic, rational and safe) Ed's writing style is very well constructed but lacks a little panache. I found myself skimming over the mundane life-history sections and felt that some of the passages were directed at individuals rather than the reader, there was more than once the sense that Ed was trying to set the record straight or send a message to an individual. There are some fantastic anecdotes and descriptions of his climbing career which demonstrate the realities of high altitude mountaineering very effectively but there are quite a few dry patches too. Worth a read though.
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on 15 October 2014
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.
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on 8 December 2016
I have read perhaps 10 mountaineering stories this year and for me, this is the best so far. Similar in some ways to "Into Thin Air" but without Ed wasting time appearing to be covering his own tracks as I thought John was.

This is about one mans quest to do something that perhaps less than 10 have ever done in our lifetimes. Climb all of the worlds 8000m peaks without additional oxygen.

Ed tells the story of each climb in a way that kept me reading at every opportunity. Like 14 mini stories with a tale of life and love to link them all together. Great book. Loved it.
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