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The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak Hardcover – October 4, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Will to Climb

 “The Will to Climb captures the essence and spirit of the great sport of mountaineering... For anyone who loves the outdoors and for those who admire the will of mankind, this book is a must-read.” Tod Leiweke, CEO of Tampa Bay Lightning

“Viesturs and Roberts have written an exhaustively researched and wonderfully compelling history of the most fascinating and dangerous of the Himalayan giants.” David Breashers, veteran mountaineer and documentary filmmaker, director of IMAX film Everest

“A detailed, nicely told account of a man’s endurance and perseverance in achieving a singular goal.” —Publishers Weekly


From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ed Viesturs is the first and only American to ascend all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. In addition to his collaborations with Ed Viesturs, David Roberts is the author of more than twenty books, including Finding Everett Ruess.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030772042X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307720429
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I rank this book lower than both "No Shortcuts" and "K2" by Ed Viesturs, mainly because there is too much repetition with stories already covered in the previous books, and the somewhat unexiting, wandering writing.

Ed Viesturs is a person I really admire for his generous personality and outstanding sensibility, but he is no great writer. In this book I actually thought the writing was poorer than in both Shortcuts and K2, and the research felt more hurried. He makes up for his limitations, however, by wisely choosing to focus on Annapurna, and the abundance of drama associated with climbing that deadly mountain. I particularly enjoyed reading about the 1984 traverse by Loretan and Joos.

If you want more information about Annapurna, go ahead and buy the book, but if you are looking for a mountaineering book in general, you should consider buying Ed's previous books "No Shortcuts" or "K2", "Above the Clouds" by Anatoli Boukreev, or "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've read both of Ed's previous books. Both were well written and kept you engaged. I was looking forward to reading his book on Annapurna. I expected it to be a lot like his book on K2 which was big best book to date.

While Obsession is a great book it falls a little short at times. You may find yourself reading and wondering where he is going. At times he branches off on different subjects that seem to have little to do with chapter being covered. Often these subjects are interesting but I think most of them may have benefited from being moved into another chapter.

What this book does well is it allows you to envision the elation and turmoil that comes from climbing these mountains. It also allows you to envision the almost alien landscape that is being traversed. In the end you almost feel like you went to the mountains yourself.

Overall this is an excellent book that anyone who has an interest in climbing will enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read every book by Ed Viesturs, so I was very excited to receive my ARC of this title a few months back.

Anything by Ed Viesturs, I dive into and can't put down. I first read No Shortcuts To The Top and was absolutely blown away. I have had this desire to do high altitude climbing and his books have encouraged me and have given me such knowledge and information to pursue my dreams.

As was to be expected, his history of the mountain was exceptional and there was ample background given to his career, his family, and his previous books. I found myself reading and thinking, "Oh yeah, I remember that!'. I felt like a true friend. As with any book related to climbing 8,000 meter peaks, my hands sweat! At a certain moment in the book, I feel like I'm right there with the climbers, like I know what it'd be like to be so high, without a net, without protection!

I admire his work and his dedication to high-altitude climbing. I admire his passion for, and the knowledge of climbing and his dedication to his family and the importance he places on it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed a number of Ed Viester's books over the years. This one rehashes too many of his and other's old stories without providing sufficient excitement or enjoyment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book, Viesturs, who has also written accounts of the most dramatic climbs on K2 [Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain (2009)] and Everest [The Mountain: My Time on Everest (2014)], describes what he regards as the “truly bold and innovative ascents pulled off by visionary mountaineers” on Annapurna, the 10th highest peak in the world, but perhaps the most dangerous. Viesturs contends that, whereas expeditions to K2 were “full of controversies and betrayals,” those to Annapurna reflected “daring ambition and brilliant triumphs.” But, as his books demonstrate, the contrast was not that complete—there were triumphs on K2 and controversies (at least moderate ones) on Annapurna.

Viesturs’ book focuses on the climbs of the 1950 French expedition to the North Face, the Bonington expedition’s 1970 ascent of the South Face, the 1978 women’s expedition to the North Face, Erhard Loretan and Norbert Joos’s 1984 traverse ascending the South Face and descending the North Face, Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander’s 1985 climb up the Northwest Face, and Simone Moro and Anatoli Boukreev’s winter attempt on the South Face in 1997. The book also describes Viesturs’ own climbs of 2000 (with Neal Beidleman, Michael Kennedy, and Veikka Gustafsson), 2002 (with Gustafsson, J. C. Lafaille and Alberto Iñurrategi), and 2005 (with Gustafsson). Viesturs asserts that he has “no desire to recycle what I wrote” in No Shortcuts to the Top (2006), but, as in his K2 and Everest books, some duplication is inevitable. It is more noticeable in The Will to Climb because three of the book’s eight chapters deal with Viesturs’ climbs on Annapurna. (Of course, for those who have not read his previous books, this will not be an issue.
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Format: Hardcover
America's first mountaineer to climb all 14 8000m peaks and twelfth overall, all without oxygen, Viesturs describes the major events on Annapurna along with his own three attempts featuring his diary entries. You should buy this book first and foremost for Viesturs account of the first ascent of the East Ridge by Swiss Erhard Loretan and Norbert Joos in 1984, second for the miraculous survival of Simone Moro and tragic death of Anatoli Bookreev on Christmas Day 1997, third for his own three attempts and eventual success, and finally as a history of the main events in Annapurna's history including the first ascent by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal in 1950, the first ascent of the south face by Dougal Haston and Don Willans on a Chris Bonington British expedition in 1970, the first ascent of the northwest face by Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander in 1985, the first winter ascent by Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer in 1987, and the second ascent of the east ridge by J.-C. Lafaille and Alberto Inurrategi in 2002. There are 8 pages of colour photos and a 2-page b/w photo.

The book starts with Ed describing his attempt to climb Annapurna North Face in 2000 with Veikka Gustafsson, Neil Beidleman, and Michael Kennedy. After witnessing "the biggest avalanche any of us had ever seen", they decided to give up their attempt because "the risks are too great."

Ed then describes the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950 by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, chronicled by Herzog in Annapurna, the best-selling mountaineering book of all time. In 2000, Ed's co-author for this book, David Roberts, wrote True Summit, a book fairly critical of Herzog, stating that the 1950 team was ridden with dissension, acrimony and envy, and that the book was little more than a gilded fairy tale.
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