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918 Book Review
Ed Viesturs'
The Mountain
My Time on Everest

Ed Viesturs is a mountaineer. He grew up guiding on Mount Rainier and used his connections (and reputation) to gain invitations (and jobs) for climbs of Mount Everest and more. Along the way, Viesturs finally became famous enough that he received endorsements and he became the first American to climb the 14 - 8,000 meter mountains of the world.

He has told his story through 4 books (so far). The first book, No Shortcuts to the Top chronicled his quest to climb the 14 highest mountains. The other three books are about specific mountains - K2, Annapurna, and Everest. (We have reviewed the book on Annapurna - The Will to Climb.) Each of the mountain books uses a similar style as Viesturs (and co-writer David Roberts) blend personal stories and history.

The Mountain, My Time on Everest, is the latest of the mountain books. I preordered the book in the summer of 2013 and almost forgot about ordering it, when I received an email in the Fall of '13 saying the book had been shipped. It was pushed to the top of my reading list. I was not disappointed.

So for a few The Mountain notes ...

I have read many mountaineering books and am familiar with the history of Everest mountaineering, but I still enjoyed the concise history course.

History topics included were the early British expeditions including Mallory, the 1953 British Expedition, the 1963 American Expedition, the 1975 British Expedition, and many more.

Viesturs made trips to Everest as a guide, working with a film crew, a solo trip, and a trip pushing a new route.

There was almost too much material. Viesturs made 11 trips to Everest and he talks about each one.

Other topics included nationalism on expeditions, guiding philosophies, turn around times, using oxygen (or not), advantages of Spring versus Fall expeditions, and continuing to climb when married and with children.

The book had a good mix of personal tales, history, and philosophies.

I wish a map of Everest would have been included. I had to find maps in other books to use.

Some great photographs are included.

He does use his famous quote, "Reaching the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." p 58.

The book definitely ended with me still wanting more, hopefully another book is in the works.

If you aspire to climb Everest or like me just like to read about it, The Mountain is a good choice. I read the hard copy.

Happy The Mountain trails


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