The Mountain: My Time on Everest
Ed Viesturs, David Roberts
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In national bestseller The Mountain, world-renowned climber and bestselling author Ed Viesturs and cowriter David Roberts paint a vivid portrait of obsession, dedication, and human achievement in a true love letter to the world’s highest peak.
In The Mountain, veteran world-class climber and bestselling author Ed Viesturs—the only American to have climbed all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks—trains his sights on Mount Everest in richly detailed accounts of expeditions that are by turns personal, harrowing, deadly, and inspiring.
The highest mountain on earth, Everest remains the ultimate goal for serious high-altitude climbers. Viesturs has gone on eleven expeditions to Everest, spending more than two years of his life on the mountain and reaching the summit seven times. No climber today is better poised to survey Everest’s various ascents—both personal and historic. Viesturs sheds light on the fate of Mallory and Irvine, whose 1924 disappearance just 800 feet from the summit remains one of mountaineering’s greatest mysteries, as well as the multiply tragic last days of Rob Hall and Scott Fischer in 1996, the stuff of which Into Thin Air was made.
Informed by the experience of one who has truly been there, The Mountain affords a rare glimpse into that place on earth where Heraclitus’s maxim—“Character is destiny”—is proved time and again.
and to do so, they established yet another camp at 25,800 feet. It was from that high refuge that the six climbers who summitted finally set out. For Andy and me to go alpine-style all the way from Camp I to the top would not only have been hanging it out—it would have been a feat that no one before us had pulled off on Everest. By 1988, other climbers, including Messner and Habeler and Erhard Loretan and Jean Troillet, had made fast, light, oxygenless ascents of Everest, but only by routes that
weather still holding good, Ian Wade, who’d overnighted at Camp VII, made it to the top. So did four Tibetans, including their only female team member, Gui Sang. And on May 10, Mark Tucker, the fifth American in our team; four Soviets, including their only woman, Yekaterina Ivanova; and one more Tibetan all topped out. All told, twenty of our climbers had reached the summit, a new record. Jim Whittaker could not have been more proud of our team’s effort. Ignoring all the rancor and dissension
tragedy will remain unanswered. That was the Everest season made famous, of course, by Jon Krakauer’s number one bestseller, Into Thin Air. Seventeen years later, Amazon lists no fewer than eleven books still in print about that chaotic spring. Besides Jon’s account, they include memoirs by the survivors Beck Weathers and Lene Gammelgaard, as well as Anatoli Boukreev’s ghost-written The Climb, essentially a point-by-point rebuttal of Jon’s critique of Anatoli as an irresponsible, glory-seeking
mountain. But to Paula it was unimaginable that after the deaths of so many climbers, including our friends Rob and Scott, we might still think of trying to complete our IMAX project. Then she overheard David casually remark on the radio, “When this is all over, we’ll regroup and go back up.” Privately, I had made the same decision. I wanted to go back up and finish what we had started. Not in spite of what had happened, but to turn the disastrous season into something more positive. Had we gone
Rounding out the entourage were Chris Jones, an Englishman transplanted to the States, who with George Lowe in 1974 had climbed the north face of North Twin, the hardest route then forged anywhere in the Canadian Rockies; and the Austrian Kurt Diemberger, a legend in his own right, who had made the first ascent of Broad Peak in 1957, the only one of the fourteen 8,000ers to be knocked off alpine-style. Diemberger and Breashears were ostensibly along as filmmakers, though David would do his share