From Publishers Weekly
For mountaineers, the 14 peaks above 8,000 meters-all located in the Himalayan range near the border between China and India-have a special status. In 1986, Austrian Reinhold Messner became the first person to scale all of them without the use of supplemental oxygen. Viesturs is currently on a quest to become the first American to reproduce this astonishing feat. This book presents photographs from his expeditions on the 12 tallest mountains in the world. A world-class climber, Viesturs is blessed with an "unusual physiology"; his body's ability to process oxygen extraordinarily well allows him to remain unusually alert and vigorous even at oxygen-scarce altitudes. That clarity of mind is amply demonstrated in these stunning photographs. Viesturs emphasizes the difficulty of taking pictures at such heights and even charmingly includes imperfect shots (from a technical perspective) that have special meaning to him. Standout images include the vast, ridged, snowy valley framed by Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse; the "maze of crevasses" of the Khumbu Glacier in the Western Cwm; and the carpet of clouds draped across the several peaks of Makalu, Lhotse, Everest and Cho Oyu taken from the vantage point of Kanchenjunga. Replete with helpful maps, this book almost doubles as a travel guide; the lack of hotels doesn't make it any less informative for the tiny number of people eager to see these staggering vistas for themselves. No book consisting solely of prose could ever produce gasps like the pictures contained herein.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A seasoned American guide much sought by organizers of commercial expeditions in the Himalayan Mountains, Viesturs has, when work permits, pursued a personal goal of ascending every 8,000-meter-plus peak in the range without using bottled oxygen. He will be the second mountaineer to do so if he succeeds in surmounting the only 2 on the list of 14 titans that have defeated him: Annapurna and Nanga Parbat. In the meantime, Viesturs offers this superb photographic record of his ascents since 1987 of Everest, K2, and the rest. Although he modestly disclaims being particularly skillful with the camera, Viesturs possesses an intuitive compositional appreciation for the grandeur of the scenery, for the play of sunrise especially. Moreover, his images viscerally show the vertiginous drop-offs at the summits. Viesturs' picture of Makalu shows his mates straddling its knife-edge top--standing would court an abyssal plummet. Admiring lowlanders will appreciate Viesturs' vistas. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved