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Ed Viesturs (born June 22, 1959) is one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers. He is one of only 18 people to have climbed all eight-thousander peaks.


Early life

Born of Latvian and German descent in Fort Wayne, Indiana and raised in Rockford, Illinois, Viesturs moved to Seattle, Washington in 1977 to attend the University of Washington. It was here that he began his mountaineering career on the slopes of Mount Rainier.[1] Viesturs graduated from the University of Washington in 1981 with a BS in zoology[2] and eventually became a guide for Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. He later obtained a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University.

Mountain climbing career

His interest in the Himalayas was sparked in high school by reading Maurice Herzog's account of the first climb of Annapurna. After climbing Kanchenjunga in 1989, Mount Everest in 1990 and K2 in 1992, Viesturs became an international mountain guide and was sponsored for full-time mountaineering. He served as a guide for Rob Hall's Adventure Consultants company during their 1995 Everest expedition.[3]

Viesturs was in the IMAX team during the 1996 Everest Disaster.[4] He was the star of the Everest IMAX movie. Filming was delayed as a blizzard struck. The IMAX team postponed shooting to aid the stranded climbers. The team decided to keep going and summitted Everest on May 23, 1996.

Viesturs's recent climbs have included Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat in 2003, Mount Everest (seventh time) in 2009 and Annapurna in 2005.

Viesturs climbs with partner Veikka Gustafsson.[5]

In 2005, Viesturs became the 12th person to summit all eight-thousander peaks. He was the first American to accomplish this feat.

On November 5, 2006, Viesturs completed his first marathon, the ING New York City Marathon, in 3:15:18.[6]

On August 17, 2007, Viesturs summitted Mount Rainier for the 200th time[7].

On May 19, 2009, Viesturs summitted Mt. Everest for the 7th time.


Viesturs is a recipient of the David A. Sowles Memorial Award[8] from the American Alpine Club.

He is the first American, and 12th person overall, to summit all fourteen mountains over 8000 meters (collectively known as the eight-thousanders). He's the sixth climber to do it without bottled oxygen.

Viesturs also has summitted Mount Everest seven times[9], a feat that has only been surpassed by a number of Sherpas (Apa Sherpa in the lead with 19 summits), and three western climbers: Peter Athans (7), Gheorghe Dijmarescu (9), and Dave Hahn (11).[10][11]

Other work

He was a cinematographer in the 2003 film Trio for One, which told the story of French alpinist Jean-Christophe Lafaille's mission to climb Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak in a period of two months.[12]


In October 2006, Viesturs published No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the Worlds 14 Highest Peaks, an autobiography that documented his 16-year journey summitting all fourteen eight-thousanders.[13]

He made a cameo appearance playing himself in the film Vertical Limit.[14][15]

He was a guest on the Daily Show on December 7, 2006, and appeared on The Colbert Report on March 14, 2007, where he agreed to plant a Colbert Report flag on top of Mount Everest the next time he went.[16] [17] On July 2, 2009, he brought the Colbert Nation flag back from Everest's summit to the show. [18]

He was featured on the cover of Outside Magazine's thirtieth anniversary issue in 2007.[19]

In October 2009, Viesturs and David Roberts published the book K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, which tells the story of six expeditions to the world's second tallest mountain.[20]


  1. ^ "RMI Guide Staff". Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Ed Viesturs: From Lander Hall to Annapurna". Autumn 2005. 
  3. ^ "History". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  4. ^ "Everest (1998)". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  5. ^ " Veikka Gustafsson". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  6. ^ "Marathon Results - Search". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  7. ^ "Summits of Mount Rainier as indicated on". 
  8. ^ "The David A. Sowles Memorial Award". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  9. ^ FirstAscent; Ed Viesturs summit #7. "Viesturs, Whittaker and Team - 29,035 ft.". Born Out There. May 18, 2008
  10. ^ Hill, Craig. "Glory, death share stage on Everest". The News Tribune. May 25, 2006
  11. ^ Dave Hahn International Mountain Guides
  12. ^ "Trio for One (2003)". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  13. ^ Viesturs, Ed; David Roberts (2007) (in English). Broadway. ISBN 978-0767924719. 
  14. ^ Viesturs, Ed; David Roberts (2007). No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks. Random House, Inc.. pp. 225. ISBN 09780767924719. 
  15. ^ "Ed Viesturs". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  16. ^ "Ed Viesturs". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  17. ^ "Ed Viesturs on the Colbert Report, March 14 2007". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  18. ^ "Ed Viesturs on the Colbert Report, July 2 2009". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  19. ^ "Outside Online". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  20. ^ Viesturs, Ed; David Roberts (2009) (in English). Broadway. ISBN 978-0767932509. 
  • Douglas Gantenbein (December 23, 1996). "Alone on the top of the world". Sports Illustrated 85 (26): 6–9. 

External links



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