The Mountain, My Time on Everest is an historical style memoir penned by veteran “world-class,” high-altitude climber Ed Viesturs with Dave Roberts that releases Tuesday, October 8th. The first-person account includes breath-taking photographs of Everest’s challenging beauty along with the “bold principles and lessons” Ed learned with each ascent.
He begins with his first Everest climb spring of 1987 when “only 209 successful ascents” had been claimed by “191 different climbers.” His esteem for the earth's highest mountain encouraged a purist attitude that prompted Ed to “take on Everest…without bottled oxygen.” That was a risk few had taken.
Tom Hornbein writes about “palatable risk” in relation to climbers in the book’s introduction, where he says some climbers are “adrenaline junkies or stimulus addicts” who have a need for extreme risk to feel fulfilled. He says Ed isn’t one of them.
Ed’s exceptional high-altitude performance takes courage, skill and the ability to measure risk, maybe because he “has a lower tolerance than most for the prospect of dying on the mountain,” writes Hornbein. He’s been known to turn “around a few hundred yards short of the summit” if he feels conditions aren't right. That’s what Hornbein calls Ed’s “uncommon trait.”
However, he’s also known to measure risk by a different ruler than most. In addition to Ed’s “uncommon trait” he never suffers from altitude sickness or any other kind of climber’s illness, other than a mild headache or “traveler’s diarrhea” in “thirty-one expeditions to 8,000-meter peaks.”
Ed credits his unusual ability to the rigorous conditioning he puts himself through prior to any climb. However, he admits he’s also been blessed with genes that have blessed him with a “physiology that functions well with little oxygen.” (pg.8)
In The Mountain Ed offers “riveting you-are-there accounts” of his own and others climbs as well as some ill-fated ascents. For Ed or any serious “high-altitude” climber, Everest remains the world’s highest, most majestic, famous and challenging.
According to Ed, unlike 1987 when few could be found on Mount Everest’s slopes, recent Internet photos show as many as “150 climbers on the Lhotse Face, lined up like Depression jobseekers in a free-lunch queue.” National Geographic Everest Expedition
In addition to the rich detail of his own experiences on Everest, Ed references earlier climbing expeditions from previous books that afford “armchair climbers” a rare glimpse of legendary, historic climbs. Insets of breath-taking photographs include past expeditions and images of Everest’s indescribable snowy glaciers, ridges and summits. The photographs and descriptions are the next best thing to being there. If you’re interested in mountain climbing or hiking, check out The Mountaineers
~For other books on Everest click through the list that headlines the review~
The Mountain: My Time on Everest, by Ed Viesturs, w/David Roberts, Touchstone Publishing, Hardcover, Oct. 8, 2013, 352 Pages, 978-1451694734, $27.00
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