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've read and/or listened to many climbing books. I've also seen every documentary on Everest and climbing I could get my hands on. Ed Viesturs is indeed a world class climber so I guess he's intitled to BRAG. He certainly does so in this book. The bragging wasn't as disconcerting as the narrator's mispronunciation of names and locations. That was the difference between 3 and 4 stars for me. Still, all & all if you like this sort of book it's a good listen.
This is a terrific book! Well written, exciting to listen to. Puts you right there alongside the author and some of the best climbers of his day as they tackle some of the most difficult peaks on earth.
The book was quite enjoyable and informative. The book was very good at bringing you into the world of mountain climbing and explaining the motivations of the author. You felt like you could understand what was going on in his head when he was climbing. The narration is also wonderful.
Well written with a good combination of technical detail with driving story line.
You have to love this kind of athlete since he is really one of the best in the wold but has a humility that comes through as real.
Very entertaining - actually made me think of getting in shape to try a big one.
I'm afraid to hear what the real Ed Viesturs sounds like for risk of tarnishing the mental image I have after hearing this reader read No Shortcuts to the Top.
It was wonderfully read with a real sense of passion and attention to detail. This is by far one of the most incredible books I've ever read. As an outdoors-man, it's very inspirational and educating but even if you've never hiked more than a few miles, you can still enjoy the Ed's accounts of climbing the world's highest mountains.
One of those books that you never want to end.
out of the many audio books I have listened to, I put this in my top 5. Even knowing very little about climbing mountains this book does not fail to keep you interested throughout the entire tail. I would suggest to any one who thought this a great book to also listen to Robert Kursons, "Shadow Divers" which could help complete your knowledge of altitudes by going from the bottom of the ocean to the top of the world. Both are great books in that you don't have to climb or scuba dive to enjoy them.
I started listening to this book while on a plane traveling to El Paso, TX to climb Guadalupe Peak in Texas. This book is witty, serious, educational, and downright inspiring. This book could not have been written any better. The sad part is that the endeavor is over, I understand the "bittersweet melancholy" of the end of this man's journey. The only difference is his journey has just begun.
Keep Climbing Ed!
This book will appeal to a broad audience; the climber that's interested in FACTUAL material about their sport, the athlete that's looking for motivation, the historian that wants insight into the legacy of mountaineering in the high peaks of the world, and the "average Joe" that wonders why any individual would ever want to put themselves at risk for such a seemingly selfish undertaking.
Ed touches on these topics along with many others in the book. The individuals of the text are introduced with such detail that you will laugh (and sometimes cry) as their lives (and some deaths) are related. As I listened to the final chapter, I was truly sad the "ride" was over. Do note, however, that the book at times seems to turn and twist back on itself (chronologically). That said, the organization makes complete sense as the book closes ... you realize that the book was written exactly as it should have been.
This book is excellent, both in terms of content and reading. The narrator is one of the better I have encounter, while the story its self is engrossing.
Ed Viesturs tells the story of his climbing of all 14 8000m peaks. In doing so, he displays a keen understanding of how to teach the elements of high altitude climbing, combined with a sense of humor and a knack for bring out the human element so often interwoven in his experiences. Hardly a "look at how great I am" sort of autobiography, Ed regularly discusses other great climbers, often with a sense of awe in finding himself in their company, or standing where they stood. In his discussions of his many high altitude expeditions, he bring a strongly human focus to bear, leaving readers not only with a sense of the beauty of climbing, but the painful realities as well.
Perhaps one criticism which could be leveled is one of organization. Because he regularly detours to tell the stories of others he knew and climbed with, there are points in the story where the time lines become slightly blurry. This is, of course, a danger with any book tracking a narrative from more than one character's perspective.
Excellent narrative, excellent narrator.
I'm just this guy, y'know?
It's difficult sometimes to imagine the drive behind undertaking a challenge like climbing high mountains, but this book gives a peek behind the curtain.
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