The bestselling author of The Mountain and No Shortcuts to the Top chronicles his three attempts to climb the world's tenth-highest and statistically deadliest peak while exploring the dramatic and tragic history of others who have made—or attempted—the ascent
As a high school student, Ed Viesturs read and was captivated by the French climber Maurice Herzog's famous and grisly account of the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950. When he began his own campaign to climb the world's 14 highest peaks in the late 1980s, Viesturs looked forward with trepidation to undertaking Annapurna himself. Two failures to summit in 2000 and 2002 made Annapurna his nemesis. His successful 2005 ascent was the triumphant capstone of his climbing quest.
In The Will to Climb Viesturs and co-author David Roberts bring the extraordinary challenges of Annapurna to vivid life through edge-of-your-seat accounts of the greatest climbs in the mountain’s history, and of his own failed attempts and eventual success. In the process Viesturs ponders what Annapurna reveals about some of our most fundamental moral and spiritual questions--questions, he believes, that we need to answer to lead our lives well.
Viesturs (No Shortcuts to the Top), with an assist from writer Roberts, conveys the almost manic dedication and preparation of the accomplished mountaineers mastering such dangerous peaks as the perilous Annapurna. Quoting from Soviet climber Anatoli Boukreev, Viesturs, America's most skilled high-altitude mountaineer, lays out the problems of humans scaling unforgiving terrain in the bitter cold without a margin for error: "High-altitude mountaineering is the most dangerous kind of sport; it has the highest rate of fatal consequence." He knew the world's killer peak, Annapurna, could be bested, for the French climber Maurice Herzog did it in 1950. Learning techniques from veteran achievers, he still failed twice to successfully plant a flag on the crest of the mountain, but he managed a triumphant climb of it in 2005. This is a detailed, nicely told account of a man's endurance and perseverance in achieving a singular goal.
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Every person who has climbed a mountain, especially if there was some risk in doing so has been asked, "Why?". Many a mountaineer cannot answer, at least in a way the questioner might understand.
"The Will to Climb" contains many terrifying accounts of amazing climbers blazing new and perilous routes on the most dangerous and most difficult to climb mountains in the world. These accounts alone, well written in a riviting style, are reason enough to read this book.
But beyond this, Viesturs attemps to explain the "why." He does so by incorporating the writings of many of the trail-blazing mountaineers, most known to him personally. Climbing is often felt as a personal emotional experience so the "why" often differs with each mountaineer. There are many "whys" but there are also many common threads. Reading this book will bring you to a better understanding of human nature and why some will risk everything to summit a dangerous and daunting mountain.
This is a book that anyone who has ever climbed or thought about doing so will immensely enjoy. It's also an especially good book for anyone, and that's most of us, who finds vicarous pleasure in reading great adventure.
"The Will to Climb" is a great read as told by one of America's most accomplished and outstanding mountaineers. There is action along with amazing insight on every page.
Viesturs is a superb alpinist and his accounts of hardship, friendship and memorable moments in the high mountains are just great! A very enjoyable book!