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No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks Hardcover – October 17, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 234 customer reviews

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From Publishers Weekly

In the opening scene of Viesturs's memoir of his quest to become the first American to climb the 14 mountains in the world higher than 8,000 meters, he and a friend nearly get thrown off the face of K2 when they're caught in an avalanche. It's one of the few moments in the story when his life genuinely seems at risk, as his intense focus on safety is generally successful. "Getting to the top is optional," he warns. "Getting down is mandatory." That lesson comes through most forcefully when Viesturs recounts how he almost attempted to reach the summit at Everest the day before the group Jon Krakauer wrote about in Into Thin Air, but backed out because it just didn't feel right. His expertise adds a compelling eyewitness perspective to those tragic events, but the main focus is clearly on Viesturs and his self-imposed "Endeavor 8000." From his earliest climbs on the peaks of the Pacific Northwest to his final climb up the Himalayan mountain of Annapurna, Viesturs offers testimony to the sacrifices (personal and professional) in giving your life over to a dream, as well as the thrill of seeing it through. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

For nearly two decades Viesturs has been living his dream: to scale the world's 14 tallest peaks--the 8,000ers, as they're known, the 14 mountains taller than 8,000 meters (26,247 feet). All of them are in Nepal, Pakistan, and Tibet, and none is easy to conquer. Viesturs, who has stood atop Everest half a dozen times, is among the world's most accomplished climbers, and even he admits it's no picnic dragging yourself up to those heights. With coauthor Roberts, a veteran mountaineering author, Viesturs turns his quest to conquer the 8,000ers into a compelling story of dedication, desperation, danger, derring-do, and devotion (physical and spiritual). Fans of extreme-sport books, especially tales of high adventure, will want to add this one to their collections. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767924703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767924702
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Daniel B. Clendenin on March 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are 14 mountain peaks in the world that tower to 8,000 meters (26,247 feet), and when Ed Viesturs finally conquered Annapurna, a peak on which one climber dies for every two who try, he joined an elite group of five people who have accomplished that feat without using supplemental oxygen. He's the only American to have done so. It took 18 years and 30 expeditions to the 8,000ers; on 10 trips he turned back short of the summit, once when he was only 100 feet away, exercising extraordinary willpower to follow his "deepest article of faith" that "getting to the top is optional; getting down is mandatory." Not bad for a man who in 1992 at the age of 33 had quit his practice as a vetinarian, was living in a windowless basement apartment, had $25,000 of school debt, and was banging nails as a construction worker to make ends meet.

No Shortcuts is a fun read because it is about more than mountain climbing, which, of course, almost none of his readers will ever attempt. But everyone has their personal Annapurna, as he says in the final pages of the book, whether battling cancer or conquering a fear. Failure, perseverance, passion, patience, risk management, teamwork, self-sacrifice for others, endurance and death are all life lessons that easily emerge from the book. His chapter on the 1996 disasters on Mount Everest when a dozen people died, including world class mountaineers Scott Fischer and Rob Hall, ads his personal perspective to Krakauer's Into Thin Air. In the last few pages Viesturs reflects upon whether his pursuit was selfish, adventure addiction, growing older and realizing he cannot climb like he could twenty years ago, feeling letdown after such a remarkable accomplishment, and how climbing has impacted his marriage. For movie versions see the IMAX film Everest (the highest grossing IMAX movie ever made) or the documentary Everest: The Death Zone.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We finally got a copy of the much anticipated Ed Viesturs memoir. Endeavoring to read it cover-to-cover and absorb all the drama, low and high altitude adventure, and very personal insights - we weren't disappointed.

Ed and David Roberts have given the reader a never before look into the climbing and personal life of America's icon of mountain climbing. This includes the mental methods of climbing with various partners, dealing with circumstances outside of the sphere of control, and the decisions impacting self and family.

An added surprise is Ed's opinions on epic climbs by other climbers that were highlighted in media, movies, and books. It certainly gave us reason to review our own opinions of the events.

A valued purchase with b/w photos.
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I have followed the adventures of Ed Viesturs and his pursuit of the 14 summits with great interest over the years. Though I am not a mountaineer in the least, it is a subject that I have been fascinated by ever since I was a youngster and saw a presentation by a man who had attempted to climb Everest. I was enthralled by the challenge and the seeming overwhelming and inherent risks. Then, years later, I was fortunate enough to see a presentation by Jon Krakauer during his tour in support of the outstanding "Into Thin Air".

Another reason I followed the mountaineers like Mr. Viesturs and Mr. Krakauer - among others - is that they convey a sense of respect and sanity about climbing these high peaks. In this new era where highly unqualified people are trying to summit peaks like Everest and ethical dilemmas more often overshadow the achievements, it is the reasoned voices of these climbers who can hopefully reverse the trend.

With that said, I was excited to see that Mr. Viesturs published "No Shortcuts To The Top". I ordered it almost as soon as it came out, and couldn't wait for the opportunity to read it.

Mr. Viesturs provides a pretty complete picture of his life to date. He nicely summarized his childhood, but fortunately kept it short to focus in on the things that drew him to climb. He does a great job of relating the sacrifices he had to make - especially financially - in order to pursue this passion. The reader gets to fully understand that climbing is not the type of "hobby" where you can just pick up from your job on a weekend and head to the hills.

More importantly - like Mr. Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" (though perhaps not as dramatically so) - Mr.
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Format: Hardcover
I have long dreamed of climbing mountains, and from a young age, I've eagerly devoured books on the subject. Ed Viesturs has always been somebody to look up to (literally) in the climbing world; I was in awe to meet him at a recent book signing and to get a copy of this book.

This is one of the better books I've read about mountaineering. Viesturs talks about the dangers of climbing, and he doesn't gloss over the less-than-pretty parts: he wants you to understand that no matter what you see in the movies, climbing mountains is a serious endeavor, something you need to go into with your eyes wide-open. He tactfully handles such matters as the 1996 Everest disaster, and he is modest about his participation in several high-profile projects. He knows he's done some amazing feats, but he doesn't make you feel as if he's let it go to his head at all. If anything, his book is wonderfully conversational, making it a good read, even if you're just an armchair adventurer.
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