No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks

by Ed Viesturs

Hardcover, 2006

Call number




Broadway Books (2006), Edition: First Edition, 368 pages


For eighteen years Viesturs pursued climbing's holy grail: to stand atop the world's fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, without the aid of bottled oxygen. As he recounts his most harrowing climbs, he reveals a man torn between the safe world he and his loved ones share and the majestic and deadly places where only he can go. A cautious climber who once turned back 300 feet from the top of Everest, but who would not shrink from a peak (Annapurna) known to claim the life of one climber for every two who reached its summit, Viesturs has an unyielding motto, "Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." It is with this philosophy in mind that he vividly describes fatal errors in judgment made by his fellow climbers as well as a few of his own close calls and gallant rescues.--From publisher description.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tallpatrick
This book was difficult to read. Every time the author summited a peak, he made it seem very pedestrian and anti-climatic.
LibraryThing member saturn_reads
Viesturs is no Krakauer when he puts pen to paper but his amazing story makes up for anything it lacks in literary eloquence. Viesturs is the first American to climb all 14 8000 meter peaks without supplemental oxygen and this story takes you there with him.
LibraryThing member umachan
Ed Viesturs is an amazing mountaineer. Unfortunately, he's not a very good writer. His account of his attempt and eventual success in climbing the world's 14 highest peaks reads a lot like a very, very long resume.
LibraryThing member FireandIce
I love reading accounts of people accomplishing amazing things. Ed Viesturs is was the 6th person in the world to climb all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks...and he did it all without the use of bottled oxygen. I agree with others that his writing is not nearly as good as Jon Krakauer, but his accomplishments, and the struggle to achieve them, more than made up for it. My favorite part was the account of his early days in Seattle/on Mt. Rainier. I'll never go anywhere near an 8,000 meter peak, but his descriptions of Mt. Rainier have cemented my desire to stand on top of it someday.… (more)
LibraryThing member LibraryCin
Ed Viesturs was the twelfth person to summit all 14 of the world's tallest mountains, the first American to do so, and the sixth to summit all 14 without supplemental oxygen. This is his autobiography, with a particular focus on his climbing.

As with most (all?) of the mountaineering books I've read, this one is very exciting at times. It kept me wanting to read. Ed was climbing with Scott Fisher on K2 when they not only summitted (against Ed's better judgement), but they saved the lives of two other climbers. Ed was part of David Breashears IMAX crew when disaster hit Everest in 1996. Plus there are many other climbs that he was involved in to make it to the summit of all 14; of course, he didn't make them all on his first tries, either. I was quite interested to learn that before the mountaineering took over, Ed had originally become a veterinarian.… (more)




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