For 18 years, Ed Viesturs pursued climbing's holy grail: to stand atop the world's 14 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.
No Shortcuts to the Top 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 the beliefs that shaped this most perilous and magnificent pursuit.
©2006 Ed Viesturs and David Roberts; (P)2006 Books on Tape
I really got addicted to this book. At the beginning I was afraid all the expeditions would become boring and sound redundant. However all the anecdotes kept me fascinated. This book is about the right balance between the will to climb and the acceptable risk you can take.
Captivated from the first chapter. Loved hearing all the details and thoughtful approach he used to climb the 8k's. These tips can be applied to many situations.
Heavily focused on mountaineering and his personal journey through life (which is a given) but he does a phenomenal job of emphasizing the importance of risk management / the intuitions that made him so successful on the mountain / while providing applicable analysis to business and relationships.
I loved the story, an amazing individual who did amazing things. If you like adventure, you'll love it. I completely disagree with the negative reviews that said he was self-indulgent I think everything he said sounds accurate even if it is somewhat self-serving at times ended in no way detracted from the quality of the book.
In my opinion, this book is only valuable for those who want to compile multiple accounts of the 1996 Everest accidents. It is somewhat interesting to compare Viesturs' account of this disaster with others' stories. The writing itself does not describe well the beauty, adventure, or accomplishments of climbing and being outdoors; the only thing it properly illustrates is Viesturs' self-absorption. The reader's incorrect pronunciation of commonly used words, such as "veterinarian," is also annoying.
Mr. Viesturs could have used some more writing help. His experiences and accomplishments are amazing and worth telling, but they're communicated poorly.
It is a significant account of the 1996 Everest disaster, and the author is not the least bit shy about assigning blame. This is interesting to compare to other accounts, such as John Krakauer's book Into Thin Air. Viesturs also references other climbers' books on the incident within his story. That's a good resource.
Before I read it I wondered how the author was going to tie together all of his adventures into an interesting story.
But he does it really well, mixing his life story well with the main topics of the book.
Viesturs gives good insights into the psychology of mountain climbers (himself included). I got a lot out of this given that I am not a climber myself.
Yes, but mainly to cover details about certain mountains.
Annapurna, Maurice Herzog.
It may have been a tad slow. But fair.
Nothing extreme, but I did appreciate the details about other mountaineer's current and historic.
With audio books like these I would like to hear the subject's own voice for narration if the delivery is decent.
No. The book itself is good, audiobook notsomuch.
Narrator pronounced mountain names and climbers names incorrectly.
A bunch of people have been writing about how arrogant Ed is, but he's a professional sportsman who has had to publicise his activities and get sponsorship, etc. I think it's pretty normal for such people to become hubristic. I'd like to read a Michael Jordan memoir when we don't get a sense that the man believes in himself.
So I think that's just par for the course and it's an interesting insight into the kind of self belief that these people have. He mentions so many friends who do similar sorts of climbing and they're all, well, dead.
I thought the narrator was excellent, he's got this really interesting voice, super dramatic but it works.
I am new to climbing. This is a great one. I didn't want to stop listening. Lots of interesting history, riviting sub-stories, and a cool overall story. Very entertaining, but you learn a lot as well.
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