What Came Before
Ever wonder what kind of gear Mr. 8,000 Meters took while conquering those 14 peaks? Take a look at GORP's overview of Viesturs' packing list , and aspire to a world record all your own.
"Never say never, but I have no desire to climb over 8,000 meters again," says mountaineering superstar Ed Viesturs. Well, you can't blame him. Over the past 16 years, Steady Eddie has spent an estimated 25 days above 8K (26,240 feet) en route to becoming the first American to climb all 14 mountains above that heighta feat he achieved without the aid of bottled oxygen. On May 12, Viesturs, 46, summited the final peak on his list, Nepal's 26,545-foot Annapurna. It was his third attempt in five years. "That mountain was a monkey on my back," says the father of three, who's been lauded for his willingness to turn around tantalizingly close to a summit if conditions are dicey. (With good reason: A week after his triumph, falling ice on the peak's notoriously unstable slopes killed Italian climber Christian Kuntner on the same route Viesturs took to the summit.)
But wait, there's a 29,035-foot catch. Viesturs, who's already summited Everest six times and failed to keep a previous promise to stay away, concedes that he might rope up on the mountain again, should the right filming or guiding opportunity arise. And if one doesn't? Will he grow old and rich at his sea-level home near Seattle with, say, a lucrative Xbox deal for Ed Viesturs's Pro Climber? "I doubt it," he says. "The plan is to still climb, just not so high."