At a glance:Ed Viesturs is widely regarded as this country’s foremost high-altitude mountaineer. He was awarded the historic Lowell Thomas Award by the Explorer’s Club for outstanding achievement in the field of mountaineering.
Ed Viesturs made a career is a professional mountaineer. He originally thought to work as a veterinarian, but after earning his degree in Veterinary Medicine his desire to climb full time changed the course of his life. Viesturs’ eventual goal was to climb all of all of the world’s fourteen 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. This was a project that he christened Endeavor 8000. His goal, which eventually took 18 years to completed, ended on May 12, 2005, with his ascent of Annapurna, one of the world’s most treacherous peaks. He is one of only a handful of climbers in history (and the only American) to accomplish this. That same year Viesturs was awarded National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year. In 2002, he was awarded the historic Lowell Thomas Award by the Explorer’s Club for outstanding achievement in the field of mountaineering. In winning the award, he joined an elite group of climbers including Sir Edmund Hillary. In 1992 he was also awarded the American Alpine Club Sowles Awards for his participation in two rescues on K-2.
During his career, Viesturs has also made seven successful ascents of 29,028’ Mt. Everest, three of these without supplemental oxygen.
Viesturs still guides clients worldwide on climbing adventures, is an Ambassador for Rolex, and works as a design consultant for Boulder Colorado based outdoor clothing manufacturer Himali. Ed also serves as a spokesman and advocate for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), an organization that instills critical life skills in under-resourced youth through wilderness mentoring experiences that help keep kids in school, reduce violence and drug use.
Viesturs resides in Ketchum Idaho with his wife Paula of 26 years, and their four children.
NO SHORTCUTS TO THE TOPViesturs lecture documents his primary goal of climbing the World’s 14 peaks over 8000 meters (26,000’ and above) without supplemental oxygen-a project he titled Endeavor 8000. This effort took him 18 years to complete and in doing so became the only American and one of five people to accomplish this feat. His climbing career spans over 30 years, and has been on 31 expeditions to Himalayan peaks. He has been on 11 Everest expeditions, reached the summit 7 times- three of these without supplemental oxygen. He was the climbing leader on the 1996 Everest Imax filming expedition and took part in the rescues of stranded climbers, documented in the book Into Thin Air. During his career, Viesturs never had an injury, nor lost a teammate. His conservative and patient attitude was the key to his safety and success.
The themes interwoven within this story are team work, leadership, goal setting, adapting to changing conditions, overcoming obstacles, passion, personal commitment, and risk management.