By Ed Viesturs with David Roberts
Touchstone, $27.00, 330 pages
Dedicated members of the mountaineer community may enjoy reading The Mountain but it will most likely put most other readers to sleep. Author Ed Viesturs has climbed Mount Everest eleven times, some as guide, some assisting filming projects and he brags about climbing all fourteen peaks, over 8000 meters. This rather hefty book is all text except for two sets of eight bound-in pages of small photographs, more illustrations might have been beneficial. Viesturs included no maps whatsoever, an error, as readers might like to orient themselves geographically with regard to locations and the climbs.
“After finally getting to the summit of Everest in 1990 on my third try, the last thing I had in mind was going back to the mountain anytime soon…if ever.”
The text is not well written, lacks brilliance and excitement of the many mountaineering undertakings he writes about. The writing is basically an extended, inflated diary; in fact it includes numerous quotations from his and others’ diaries and also from various letters. He never explains technical and geographic terms common among mountaineers. The book contains countless accounts of past climbing attempts, some successful, some not and some ending in tragedies. The list of historic accounts starts with an 1852 Indian survey of Everest and continues to date. These stories are repetitions written in many previous accounts.
Reviewed by George Erdosh