Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Shortcuts to the Top

I recently finished reading the aforementioned book by Ed Viesturs, the first American to summit all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks. His feat is even more impressive when you consider that he did so without using supplemental oxygen. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in motivation, climbing, and patience. Since I'm very interested in two out of three, this proved to be a great read. What struck me most was the measured and careful way in which Ed climbed. Upon discovering that conditions were simply too dangerous to continue climbing, Ed repeatedly turned around to await a safer opportunity, often doing so less than 400 feet from the summit. Unlike so many climbers who have pushed themselves way too far, allowed themselves to get started late, or failed to put in the hard work training, Ed time and again refuses to make these completely avoidable missteps. Everyone loves a good adventure story and climbers such as Reinhold Messner, Maurice Herzog, and Herman Buhl deliver exactly these but these are climbers who have pushed themselves well beyond any acceptable risk threshold and as a result, it's hard for me to relate. As Viesturs penned frequently in 'No Shortcuts,' "Getting to the top is optional; getting down is mandatory." In my next post I'll be compiling a list of Climbing dos and don'ts but for now, suffice to say that I have a new hero.

1 comment:

GnightMoon said...

I remember reading an article about Alex Lowe's death that called him the greatest mountaineer of his time thinking that was sort of an oxymoron.