No Shortcuts to the Top has been the most inspiring book I have read in the last months. Ed Viesturs takes the reader on a journey through his life. From growing up and loving the outdoors in the American Midwest to summiting Annapurna – it’s a gripping and emotional journey.
Ed has climbed the world’s highest 14 peaks – without oxygen. His mantra
Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.
guides him up Mt. Rainier in his youth and then Mt. Everest, K2, Lhotse, Shishampangma, and finally, after many attempts, Annapurna.
You don’t have to be into climbing to enjoy this book. It makes for a great travel companion or transports you into another world after long office hours – I read this in a record speed 2 days and loved every minute.
What makes No Shortcuts to the Top so compelling is its motivational aspect. It makes you want to get up and do something. Climbing mountains is very much mind over body. It’s a rational, well-planned and meticulous task. At the same time, physical fitness is an absolute must, yet Viesturs makes it sound attainable and achievable. The Annapurna mountain was Viestur’s biggest nemesis, yet power of will, perseverance and an incredible drive (as well as admittedly some luck) made the impossible possible and he summitted on Thursday, May 12, 2005, Nepal time. At 2 p.m. – history was made.
I read this book after having summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro (one of the seven summits) myself earlier this year and it makes me want to get up and immediately plan another mountain adventure.
What you really take away is that you own your life. You can get up and do anything. It’s all up to you, your mind and your power of will. Everyone can conquer their own Annapurna.