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 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.
What a great book! When reading any true adventure novel, it's important to realize the ego it takes to do the things that are done in the book, and that inevitably comes through in the writing. However, I didn't feel as much of that ego as in other books. Ed has a great philosophy about climbing that translates well into everyday life, and his goal is to communicate that philosophy to his reader. I can see how that can be read as self-praise, but I didn't take it that way. In any event, the stories are more than worth it for those that are annoyed by the occational "self-help" lessons.
The only drawback to this recording is the narration. I didn't feal that the voice went with the story. It was too polished, too much like a TV anchorman. I was able to get past this, however, and thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish.
First, Ed is a big hero of mine and the book was a good read. Like many other readers I would agree that he does come off as being narcissistic at times. Despite this short coming I would recommend it to anyone interested in the adventure genre.
This is an exceptional look at what it takes to make such extreme accomplishments. Several reviews suggest Ed Viesturs is somewhat arrogant but this is a biography of him and it takes supreme self confidence to accomplish what he has done. The narrator does an excellent job with intonation and pace. I found myself gripped at points waiting to find out how the next section played out. I am certain I will listen to this one again in the future.
I enjoyed Ed's account of his climbing adventures very much. I have read several other books on this subject and found this one to be one of the more enjoyable. He does provide an account of the 1996 failed expedition popularized by "Into Thin Air" by John Krakauer, but also details how he got to that point and where he went from there. So many books today are focused only on that one event in an effort to cash in, but Ed's story of his climbs are numerous and interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about high altitude mountaineering.
I love stories about mountain climbing and this one does not disappoint. I wonder if it is a series of articles because there is some repetition, but it is still great listening climbing thrills.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.