The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak
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The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  267 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The bestselling author of The Mountain and No Shortcuts to the Top chronicles his three attempts to climb the world's tenth-highest and statistically deadliest peak while exploring the dramatic and tragic history of others who have madeor attemptedthe ascent

As a high school student, Ed Viesturs read and was captivated by the French climber Maurice Herzog's famous and gri...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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Heidi
Another mountaineering book--I'm fascinated by what drives these people, although I have no desire to climb any mountains myself. Ed Viesturs relives his own journey up Annapurna (the mountain with the highest death rate of all the mountains above 8000 meters) and describes other noteworthy expeditions. His passion and his heart shine through the words he's written.

But as interesting as it was, this wasn't Viesturs' best book. The repetition got annoying--it felt like Viesturs wasn't expecting u...more
David
Viesturs phoned this one in. It's a sloppily-edited rehash of mountaineering anecdotes from other climber's books. It's also full of sniping at Jon Krakauer, who really writes good stuff about climbing. Take a pass on this book.
Erika
I liked No Shortcuts better. I will always read Viesteurs, and his stories inspire me to get back out there and go up a glacier, but this was less a story about his own climb. No Shortcuts tells Ed's Annapurna climb stories more succinctly and clearly than this does. This is a rambling, wonderfully told set of vignettes about the history of climbing Annapurna. It reads as a Who’s Who in the climbing industry along with a resume clip of each from the vantage of Annapurna. A wonderful read, but no...more
Suman
Meh. A couple interesting stories (especially Loretan's traverse of the East ridge of Annapurna), but not nearly as interesting or polished as Viestur's book about K2.
Keith
I read Viesturs K2 book shortly before this and enjoyed it a bit more than this one, but both were nice tales of grit and determination and cautious daring on some of the world's highest peaks. I was a little less enthralled by this book than the one on K2, but perhaps I should have taken a larger break between the readings. Although, Viesturs himself admits that K2 has a much more controversial past which leads to some more interesting storytelling. I found my interest lagging a bit on the last...more
Sphinxygold
I picked this book up after hearing Ed Viesturs speak at an event. He's got several to his credit, but figuring I'd only read one I picked the Annapurna book because it was his initial inspiration to climb and the last of his 14 8000ers.

Ed spins a good yarn, but I found it hard to keep all the names straight. People, places, activities, equipment, routes. Why it was almost like reading a Russian novel. I'd read a story about derring-dos, thoroughly enjoy it, and then 10 pages later not recogniz...more
John E. Branch Jr.
Like “Tour de France” and “Campagnolo,” two names I encountered in a cycling shop during my teen years, which connected only tenuously with the $100 Schwinn 10-speed I rode ever day, I met the name “Annapurna” somewhere in the past. The particular poetry of its sound and rhythm stuck in my head, but I knew little of the mountain itself until the recent day when I read the full title of this book. It was on the cover of a review copy at work, which I grabbed, eager to learn at last what in the wo...more
Dan-o
This was an interesting book, but different than what I expected. For a nearly 300 page book, Viesturs only used about 40 pages to describe his ascent of Annapurna. The rest of the book recounted the myriad of ascents of that mountain. I certainly enjoyed hearing about all the people who had gone up. It was particularly cool to get some insight into the small community of 8000 meter peak summiters. Annapurna was actually climbed before Everest was, but it is a considerably harder mountain to cli...more
Meg Bee
This book was easy to devour, definitely a page-turner.

For every three people who attempt to climb Annapurna, apparently one dies. Crazy. The people who climb this mountain are crazy. This book saw Ed Viesturs "close the loop" or climb all 14 mountains that are over 8000m high. Annapurna was his very last one, and he managed it after not getting very far during two other expeditions.

This book is so great because it's not just the story of Ed Viesturs' attempts to climb Annapurna, but it's a hi...more
Anna
Maybe I took too much time to listen to this book - perhaps that's why I couldn't seem to follow the structure of it. It seemed to jump around between different expeditions to Annapurna too much. Annapurna sounds horrible! Apparently, it's not technically difficult but without any somewhat safe routes and a relatively high number of people die on it compared to those who make it to the top. Viesturs has climbed all 14 8,000 metre mountains and he has climbed them without oxygen. I'm certainly am...more
Brinda
I really enjoyed how the story of years of expeditions on this mountain are laid out, starting with the first French expedition led by Maurice Herzog, covering many key expeditions over the years and finally ending with the Ed's own efforts to get up Annapurna. Ed does a nice job of interspersing quotes from the climber's diaries with his narrative to convey the emotional highs and lows, tensions and joys of efforts like this.
Nicky McHugh
So so badly wanted to like this more -- I even read most of it quite literally in the shadow of Annapurna, while trekking in Nepal -- but this book left me wanting more. It is impressive in that it seems to capture every expedition and ascent of the mountain and some of the stories are riveting. But in the end it is a bit rambling and disconnected as a narrative as it jumps from one ascent to the next and goes ... nowhere. Viesturs' main theme seems to be the tension between obsession and commit...more
Kris Madaus
I love reading about Annapurna. But I have read so many mountaineering books, that I feel I am reading the same story again and again. This book was different. I was intrigued by the challenges of Annapurna including another perspective on the first ascent and the first winter ascent. There is also some good stories of the other people that have climbed all of the 8000 meter peaks. I really like the way Viesturs gives the facts without strongly placing judgement. Granted, he has opinions of his...more
josh
Dec 31, 2011 josh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: outdoors, history, climbing or himalayan enthusiasts
Recommended to josh by: shelf @ UAPL
one of the first full books I've read on mountaineering (though I've certainly read a number of articles on climbing, rock & ice, backpacker, nat geo adventure and the like). I'm a fan of history and traditions. brotherhood and self-sacrifice (on a level far beyond my capabilities). so, to that end I was a huge fan of the stories within the bounds of this book's covers. yet, I found the beauty of the prose to be sorely lacking in a number of places. I certainly do not find any faults with mr...more
Rob Cantrall
Pretty interesting. Includes a walk through and observation/analysis of the accounts of a number of mountain climbers by Viesturs.
Arnie
This is not as good ad Viesturs other books, and although I've never read his magnum opus, "No Shortcuts to the Top", I suspect it's not as good as that one either. It reads more like a collection of things Ed's already written about, peppered with his own experiences.

Still, a solid book about a single mountain and the numerous attempts to conquer it, and a worthy investment of your time if you're into the outdoors, climbing, or stories about endurance. I would love to meet Viesturs and have a...more
Maria
I love Ed Viesturs books. He has a casual, engaging conversational style perfect for the armchair mountaineer. Similar to his book on K2, this one is about the history of climbing Annapurna, the "deadliest" mountain, as well as reflections on his own climb (successful on his 3rd attempt). I read it after reading the book on K2 and the contrast of the histories I found very interesting. If you have a casual interest in mountaineering then this is probably not the book for you, but anyone with a p...more
Evgenia Kuvshinova
I'm so far from those heroes. But they are my heroes...
Lynne Fort
Any time a person writes a memoir, it is going to be at least a little bit pro-self, but Ed Viesturs takes that to another level. While what he accomplished is great, his constant self-congratulation and often unnecessary inserts of his own accomplishments wear thin by the end. The parts of this novel that recounted the history of climbers on Annapurna were well-done and enjoyable, but they are sprinkled with a constant comparison to Viestur's apparently superior attempts and methods. I actually...more
Jeanie
Always interesting, not as good as his K2 book.
Andrea
Amazing stories of both Viesturs' own attempts on Annapurna as well as past successes and failures on that very dangerous mountain. This book isn't for everyone, but anyone with an interest in or a fascination with mountain climbing, especially the 8,000'ers, will enjoy this read. My only complaint is that all the stories and names blended together for me after a while, and I had trouble keeping track of who's who. Otherwise, fascinating story!
Irene
HB -- 3.5 -- Ya, I am a sucker for any adventure. I have read all of of Ed's writings even his interviews and most of the sritings of the great and deceased Mt climbers he names in this book. It is rivieting to try to understand how these strong climbers face their mortality everytime they wake up on these 8000'ers.
well done and I am glad he has climbed all of them.
Joanna Croston


A little disappointing. It never seems to dig in deep to what Viesturs may have actually been feeling while climbing this peak. More attention is given to the exploits of others, which made for good reading in most cases. But his own accounts of his experience fall a bit flat. Maybe it's modesty or maybe it's just not introspective enough to make it a thrilling read.
Elise
My favorite bits of this were the excerpts from Erhard Loretan, particularly the part were he responded to awe at his east ridge traverse with, "I think you are a bit exaggerating about our climb!!??" What a wonderfully absurd writer.

Viesturs, as always, knows his stuff, although I think I was more riveted by his account of K2.
Jonathan
Feb 29, 2012 Jonathan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mountaineers
I found this an interesting history of attempts to climb Annapurna, including Viesturs' own three attempts, the last successful in 2005. The author is the first (and perhaps still the only) American to climb all of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks in the world.
Linda
I won a copy of this book and received it last week and it is absolutely amazing so far! Ed has a way of writing so that you feel like you're right there with him on the mountain...and my hands sometimes sweat like I'm 20,000 feet up! So far, so amazing!
allimo
Surprisingly, less of this was rehashing the same stories from "No Shortcuts" than I expected. As always, I really appreciated the accounts of historical climbs and the death and danger encountered by the brave souls attempting such a deadly mountain.
Jennifer
Another excellent read! I really like his style, it sounds just like his lectures and shares both the mountaineering experience and general climbing history that most people are not aware of. Can't wait to see what mountain he covers next!
Stan
One of several books I am reading for the Banff Mountain Book Festival this year. I'm not too far into this yet, but if it is like previous collaborations between Viesturs and Roberts it will be good.
Becky Littlechilds
Each chapter describes a notable chapter in the history of climbing Annapurna. The author's own experiences climbing in the Himalaya are interspersed throughout. Very accessible. I enjoyed it.
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Ed Viesturs is America's leading high altitude mountaineer, having climbed many of the world's most challenging summits, including ascending Mount Everest seven times. He recently completed a 16-year quest to climb all 14 of the world's highest mountains (above 8,000 meters) without the use of supplemental oxygen. In doing so, he became the first American and the 5th person in the world to accomp...more
More about Ed Viesturs...
No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain The Mountain: My Time on Everest Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants No Boundaries: Spirit of Adventure

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