Ed Viesturs

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Edmund Viesturs (born June 22, 1959) [1] is a high-altitude mountaineer and corporate speaker. He is the only American to have climbed all fourteen of the world's eight-thousander mountain peaks, and the fifth person to do so without using supplemental oxygen.[2] He has summited peaks of over 8,000 meters on 21 occasions, including Mount Everest seven times; only two other climbers, Phurba Tashi Sherpa Mendewa and Juanito Oiarzabal, have more high-altitude ascents.

Early life[edit]

Born of Latvian and German descent in Fort Wayne, Indiana and raised in Rockford, Illinois, Viesturs moved to Seattle, Washington in 1977 to attend the University of Washington. It was here that he began his mountaineering career on the slopes of Mount Rainier.[3] Viesturs graduated from the University of Washington in 1981 with a BS in zoology[4] and worked as a guide for Rainier Mountaineering Inc. He later obtained a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University.

Mountain climbing career[edit]

His interest in the Himalayas was sparked in high school by reading Maurice Herzog's account of the first climb of Annapurna, titled Annapurna. After climbing Kanchenjunga in 1989, Mount Everest in 1990 and K2 in 1992, Viesturs became an international mountain guide and was sponsored for full-time mountaineering. He served as a guide for Rob Hall's Adventure Consultants company during their 1995 Everest expedition.[5] Viesturs climbs with Finnish partner Veikka Gustafsson.[6]

Viesturs is known for his assistance to other mountaineers. In 1992 he and fellow American Scott Fischer brought down French climber Chantal Mauduit, suffering from exhaustion, after her summit of K2.[7] Viesturs was in the IMAX climbing team during the 1996 Everest Disaster.[8] He was featured in the Everest IMAX movie. Filming was delayed as a blizzard struck. The IMAX team postponed shooting and followed Viesturs up the mountain to aid the stranded climbers. The team ultimately decided to keep going, and summited Everest on May 23, 1996. In July 2003, Viesturs and a Kazakh team headed by Denis Urubko were instrumental in the rescue of French climber Jean-Christophe Lafaille from Broad Peak. Lafaille had developed high-altitude pulmonary edema and was unable to complete his descent. They coordinated a rescue attempt in the dark and were able to get Lafaille safely off the mountain and helicoptered out for medical help.[9]

In 2005, Viesturs became the first American, and 12th person overall, to summit all fourteen mountains over 8000 meters without bottled oxygen. (collectively known as the eight-thousanders). He is the fifth climber to do it without supplemental oxygen.[10] Viesturs also has summitted Mount Everest seven times,[11] a feat that has been surpassed by a number of Sherpas (Apa Sherpa in the lead with 21 summits[12]), and three Western climbers: Gheorghe Dijmarescu (9), Kenton Cool (10), and Dave Hahn (13).[13][14]

Viesturs's more recent climbs have included Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat in 2003, Annapurna in 2005, and Mount Everest (seventh time) in 2009.[15] On July 8, 2009 he led an expedition to Mount Rainier as part of the United Way Climb for the Community effort. Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora, Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took part in this charitable enterprise, successfully summiting the 14,410 ft peak. Viesturs led an expedition to Antarctica in January 2011 to climb its highest peak, Vinson Massif. In August 2011, he summited Mount Rainier for the 208th time.[16] Viesturs now acts as a guide for RMI Expeditions.[17]

Accomplishments[edit]

Viesturs is a recipient of the David A. Sowles Memorial Award (1992) [18] from the American Alpine Club. He is also the recipient of the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award (2001)[19] He was named National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year (2005).[20]

On November 5, 2006, Viesturs completed his first marathon, the New York City Marathon, in 3:15:18.[21]

Other work[edit]

Viesturs was a cinematographer in the 2003 film Trio for One, which told the story of French alpinist Jean-Christophe Lafaille's mission to climb Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak in a period of two months.[22] He acts as a design consultant for manufacturers of outdoors equipment and is a representative of his adopted hometown's football team, the Seattle Seahawks. He is a member of the board of directors for Big City Mountaineers, an urban youth organization that offers wilderness experiences. Viesturs has also found a niche as a corporate motivational speaker.[16]

Media[edit]

In October 2006, Viesturs published No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the Worlds 14 Highest Peaks, an autobiography that documented his 16-year journey summitting all fourteen eight-thousanders, and his strategies to manage risk in extreme mountain environments.[23]

He made a cameo appearance playing himself in the film Vertical Limit.[24][25]

He was a guest on the Daily Show on December 7, 2006, and appeared on The Colbert Report on March 14, 2007, where he agreed to plant a Colbert Report flag on top of Mount Everest the next time he went.[25][26] On July 2, 2009, he brought the Colbert Nation flag back from Everest's summit to the show.[27]

He was featured on the cover of Outside Magazine's thirtieth anniversary issue in 2007.[28]

Viesturs himself and some of his footage of Mount Everest are featured in the 2007 release by Big Fish Games of Hidden Expedition: Everest, an early game in the hidden object genre. It achieved first runner-up for Best Hidden Object Game of 2007. [29]

In October 2009, Viesturs and David Roberts published the book K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, which tells the story of six expeditions to the world's second tallest mountain.[30]

In October 2011, Viesturs published The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak, which he describes his own experiences on Annapurna as well as those of others who have attempted to climb the most dangerous (statistically) 8000 meter peak.[31]

On October 8, 2013, Viesturs and David Roberts published "The Mountain: Epic Adventures on Everest", which both surveys Viesturs' personal ascents and recounts other historical ascents of Mount Everest.[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IMDb". Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ Table with list of climbers who have reached 10 or more "eight-thousanders", including repetitions, by Eberhard Jurgalski (PDF download)
  3. ^ "RMI Guide Staff". Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  4. ^ "Ed Viesturs: From Lander Hall to Annapurna". Autumn 2005. 
  5. ^ "History". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  6. ^ "EverestHistory.com: Veikka Gustafsson". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  7. ^ "Tragedy of Chantal Mauduit shocks climbers". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Everest (1998)". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  9. ^ "Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak and K2 Kazakhstan Expedition". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  10. ^ "How Mountaineer Ed Viesturs First Summited Everest Without Oxygen". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ FirstAscent; Ed Viesturs summit #7. "Viesturs, Whittaker and Team - 29,035 ft.". Born Out There. May 18, 2008
  12. ^ Keese Lane (21 May 2011). "Apa Sherpa Summits Everest 21 Times". Alpinist.com. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Hill, Craig. "Glory, death share stage on Everest". The News Tribune. May 25, 2006
  14. ^ Dave Hahn International Mountain Guides
  15. ^ "Ed Viesturs group reaches summit of Mount Everest:Trip is the seventh to the top of Everest for Viesturs". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "About Ed". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Ed Viesturs, Mountain Guide, RMI Expeditions". Retrieved May 6, 2003. 
  18. ^ "The David A. Sowles Memorial Award". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  19. ^ "The Lowell Thomas Award". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ed Viesturs: Adventurer of the Year". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Marathon Results - Search". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  22. ^ "Trio for One (2003)". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  23. ^ Viesturs, Ed; David Roberts (2007). No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the Worlds 14 Highest Peaks. Broadway. ISBN 978-0-7679-2471-9. 
  24. ^ Viesturs, Ed; David Roberts (2007). No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks. Random House, Inc. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-7679-2471-9. 
  25. ^ a b "Ed Viesturs". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  26. ^ "Ed Viesturs on the Colbert Report, March 14, 2007". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  27. ^ "Ed Viesturs on the Colbert Report, July 2, 2009". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  28. ^ "Outside Online". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  29. ^ "Hidden Expedition: Everest". Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  30. ^ Viesturs, Ed; David Roberts (2009). K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain. Broadway. ISBN 978-0-7679-3250-9. 
  31. ^ Viesturs, Ed (2011). Crown. ISBN 030772042X.
  32. ^ "Ed Viesturs Books". 
  • Douglas Gantenbein (December 23, 1996). "Alone on the top of the world". Sports Illustrated 85 (26): 6–9. 

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