Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ed Viesturs  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1959 in Rockford, Illinois


Illinois Connection

He was born in Rockford, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Viesturs is a professional mountaineer, design consultant, and motivational speaker. He is the design consultant for Mountain Hardwear, Timberland, and Outdoor Research.In May 2005, Viesturs became the first American to ascend all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks. He currently lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants
ISBN: 0792241657

National Geographic. 2003

Now updated to include the triumphant culmination of a monumental quest—to stand on the summits of all fourteen of the world’s highest mountains—Himalayan Quest offers an unforgettable glimpse into the remarkable world of Ed Viesturs, America’s best-known high altitude climber, and the breathtaking landscape in which he works. It is an unparalleled showcase of both the heartbreaking tragedy and the ineffable joy Viesturs has experienced while striving at the limits of human endurance.

At the center of this extraordinary account of his mountaineering adventures are Viesturs’s own awe-inspiring photographs from the top of the world. This collection of images will show readers the deadly beauty and haunting menace of the Himalaya. A unique, inspiring, and spine-tingling glimpse into the rarified world of the extreme climber, Himalayan Quest will appeal not only to Viesturs’s significant fan base (fondly known as Edophiles or Edheads), but also to outdoor aficionados and armchair adventurers everywhere.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks
ISBN: 0767924711

Broadway Books. 2007

This gripping and triumphant memoir from the author of The Mountain

follows a living legend of extreme mountaineering as he makes his assault on history, one 8,000-meter summit at a time.

For eighteen years Ed Viesturs pursued climbing’s holy grail: to stand atop the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, without the aid of bottled oxygen. But No Shortcuts to the Top is as much about the man who would become the first American to achieve that goal as it is about his stunning quest. As Viesturs recounts the stories of his most harrowing climbs, he reveals a man torn between the flat, safe world he and his loved ones share and the majestic and deadly places where only he can go.

A preternaturally cautious climber who once turned back 300 feet from the top of Everest but who would not shrink from a peak (Annapurna) known to claim the life of one climber for every two who reached its summit, Viesturs lives by an unyielding motto, “Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” It is with this philosophy that he vividly describes fatal errors in judgment made by his fellow climbers as well as a few of his own close calls and gallant rescues. And, for the first time, he details his own pivotal and heroic role in the 1996 Everest disaster made famous in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air.

In addition to the raw excitement of Viesturs’s odyssey, No Shortcuts to the Top is leavened with many funny moments revealing the camaraderie between climbers. It is more than the first full account of one of the staggering accomplishments of our time

it is a portrait of a brave and devoted family man and his beliefs that shaped this most perilous and magnificent pursuit.

K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
ISBN: 0767932501

Crown Archetype. 2009

Epic, dangerous, famous, K2 and the climbers who have sought to conquer it is revealed to all in K2: Life And Death On The World's Most Dangerous Mountain by legendary mountaineer Ed Viesturs and author David Roberts. In this book, Viesturs recounts the drama of 6 expeditions on the world's second tallest mountain in gritty, honest detail leaving nothing unexposed from the realities of the danger to the harsh truths of the interpersonal relationships of each climbing team.