People Who Kick Buts: Ed Viesturs
It’s a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory.
- Born on June 22, 1959 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- He is the first American to have climbed all fourteen of the world’s eight-thousander mountain peaks, and the fifth person to do so without using supplemental oxygen.
He has summited peaks of over 8,000 meters on 21 occasions, including Mount Everest seven times; only two other climbers, Phurba Tashi Sherpa Mendewa and Juanito Oiarzabal, have more high-altitude ascents.
- Born of Latvian and German descent, was 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.
Viesturs graduated from the University of Washington in 1981 with a BS in zoology and eventually became a guide for Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.
He later obtained a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University.
- 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.
- Viesturs was in the IMAX climbing team during the 1996 Everest Disaster.
He was featured in the Everest IMAX movie. Filming was delayed as a blizzard struck. The IMAX team postponed shooting and followed Viesturs up the mountain to aid the stranded climbers. The team ultimately decided to keep going and summitted Everest on May 23, 1996.
- In 2005, Viesturs became the 12th person to summit all fourteen 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.
- On August 17, 2007, Viesturs summitted Mount Rainier for the 200th time.
- On May 19, 2009, Viesturs summitted Mt. Everest for the 7th time.