Ketchum, Idaho resident Ed Viesturs is widely regarded as this country’s foremost high-altitude mountaineer. He is familiar to many from the 1996 IMAX Everest Expedition documentary and 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 awarded the American Alpine Club Sowles Awards for his participation in two rescues on K-2.
Viesturs is a professional mountaineer and works as a design consultant for outdoor equipment manufacturer Eddie Bauer/First Ascent. He also represents Rolex as an ambassador.
Ed serves as a member of the Board of Directors 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. He is the spokesperson for their Summit For Someone benefit climb series which placing individuals on iconic peaks raising support for BCM youth and programs.
Viesturs has successfully reached the summits of all of the world’s fourteen 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, an 18-year project he christened Endeavor 8000. His goal was completed 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 year Viesturs was awarded National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year.
Viesturs motto has always been that climbing has to be a round trip. All of his planning and focus during his climbs maintains this ethic and he is not shy about turning back from a climb if conditions are too severe. In spite of his conservative attitude, Viesturs has been one of the most successful Himalayan climbers in American history. His story is about risk management as well as being patient enough for conditions to allow an ascent. Ultimately, in his words, “The mountain decides whether you climb or not. The art of mountaineering is knowing when to go when to stay, and when to retreat.”
Viesturs now lives in Ketchum, Idaho with his wife of 20 years, Paula, and their four children. He continues to go on adventures. On May 19th, 2009 he made his 7th ascent of Everest.
No Shortcuts to the Top
Viesturs lecture discusses (and 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. The themes interwoven within this story are teamwork, leadership, goal setting, overcoming obstacles, commitment and risk management. His images showcase these efforts and complement the talk.
Set Your Own Goals
Team Success is Individual Success
Planning is the Key to Achievement
Integrity of Approach is Paramount
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