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. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Will to Climb
“The Will to Climb captures the essence and spirit of the great sport of mountaineering... For anyone who loves the outdoors and for those who admire the will of mankind, this book is a must-read.” —Tod Leiweke, CEO of Tampa Bay Lightning
“Viesturs and Roberts have written an exhaustively researched and wonderfully compelling history of the most fascinating and dangerous of the Himalayan giants.” —David Breashers, veteran mountaineer and documentary filmmaker, director of IMAX film Everest
“A detailed, nicely told account of a man’s endurance and perseverance in achieving a singular goal.” —Publishers Weekly
A veteran mountaineer chronicles his colossal quest to scale the Himalayas' 14 8,000-meter peaks, including the deadliest, Annapurna.
With the assistance of Roberts(Finding Everett Ruess, 2011, etc.),Viesturs (K2, 2009, etc.)returns with another true account of cliffhanging adventure. Viesturs was inspired by mountain-climbing icon Maurice Herzog's successful ascent of Annapurna in 1950, which was the first time anyone had reached the summit of that treacherous Himalayan monolith. After conquering most of the harrowing Himalayan range, in 2000 Viesturs finally prepared to take on the intimidating Annapurna. Interspersed throughout his own combative history with the Himalayas' "8,000ers" are historical accounts of other adventurous souls who've attempted to conquer these peaks since the 19th century. The author describes his own attachment to mountain-climbing as "tread[ing] between commitment and obsession," which is believable enough, since Viesturs certainly doesn't over-romanticize this obsession. Viesturs describes the successful exploits of the most formidable characters taking part in this survival-of-the-fittest competition, but often the most miraculous accounts are rooted in failure: In particular, French climber Jean-Christophe Lafaille's incredible 8,000-foot descent from Annapurna with a broken arm and no rope, followed by fellow mountaineer Simone Moro surviving a 2,600-foot tumble down the mountain's rugged face. Reinhold Messner, often considered the greatest mountaineer ever, was the first to conquer all 14 8,000ers. Though Viesturs' battle with Annapurna ended on a triumphal note, not every successful mountaineer gains a lasting sense of fulfillment from their achievements in the so-called vertical world. Unfortunately, the author only skims the surface of the psychological aspects that drive a person to scale a 29,000-foot mountain.
Lacks overall depth and scope, but good for vicarious thrill-seeking.