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New Viesturs book?

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Postby nattfodd » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:15 am

MarthaP wrote:I'm pretty sure you're right. I think that's Abruzzi Ridge right below the shoulder. Correct me if I'm wrong...but it's awe-inspiring to say the least!


I've actually read several times that this is the bottleneck, which would mean that there are fixed ropes (at least in the latest years, maybe not in 1992 when this photo was taken).
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Postby bajaandy » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:35 pm

Figured I weigh in here since I just finished reading K2 by Viesturs. (I read No Shortcuts back when it came out too.) Found K2 in hardcover at Costco for around $15.00.

I'd have to agree with some of the other posters that Viesturs is no literary great. But then I don't think he set out to write with that intention in mind. Both of his books were indeed interesting to read, although his most recent offering feels somewhat disjointed. (Maybe because like No Shortcuts it's co-authored with David Roberts?) In the end, both books are an entertaining review of some of the classic and infamous attempts in the mountains. And while I don't find his style particularly easy to read, I do get stoked when I read his books if for no other reason than the fact that I find his climbing career to be inspiring. Enough so that I find myself working harder to train to be fit for whatever my next little adventure will be. So is it worth a read? I think so.
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Postby Arthur Digbee » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:37 pm

I basically agree with you, bajaandy.

Here's my Amazon review:

I wrote:An interesting but uneven narrative of six dramatic seasons on K2

In this book, well-known mountaineer Ed Viesturs and sidekick tell the story of six dramatic seasons on K2, the world's highest peak: 1938, 1939, 1953, 1954, 1986, and 2008. Viesturs has climbed K2 himself, as part of his successful campaign to climb all 14 of the world's 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. He evaluates the many disasters on this mountain to try to find their "lessons."

Those lessons are pretty scattered, and don't add up to any overriding themes. Of course the main theme is one familiar to readers of Viesturs: be willing to turn back, and "getting down is mandatory."

The book can also be read as a history of these seasons, which include several disasters and one successfully-avoided near-disaster (the "miracle belay"). Viesturs isn't much of a historian, but he's a heckuva mountaineer. His histories work best when he knows some of the people involved - - especially 1986 and 2008, but OK in 1953-54. The 1938-39 chapters were just weaker narratives.

If you haven't read "No Shortcuts," read that one first. If you have read it, and have an interest in K2, then this one is OK but not overly compelling.


Toss a little love to the review (i.e., vote) here.
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Postby D Watson » Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:19 pm

nattfodd wrote:
MarthaP wrote:I'm pretty sure you're right. I think that's Abruzzi Ridge right below the shoulder. Correct me if I'm wrong...but it's awe-inspiring to say the least!


I've actually read several times that this is the bottleneck, which would mean that there are fixed ropes (at least in the latest years, maybe not in 1992 when this photo was taken).


This shot is of the traverse (70 meters long) that is above the bottleneck but underneath the serac with Viesters' calls the "motivator". The "bottleneck" is the couloir (300 meters long) that leads up to the serac. The bottleneck is the same pitch (60ish degrees) as the traverse and there are usually fixed ropes all throughout. Many times the fixed ropes through here are very skinny and are not easily visible in photos. This traverse is at about 27, 500 feet and one of the wildest parts of the route.
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Postby jspeigl » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:32 am

Dave,

Thanks for this picture! I'm reading the book, and it is hard to picture what Viesturs is describing in the different accounts of the climbs. This picture really helps. So the highest camp on the shoulder must be camp 4, and the big serac above is the "Motivator." Where would House's chimney be? Thanks.

Image
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Postby drjohnso1182 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:44 am

Arthur Digbee wrote:In this book, well-known mountaineer Ed Viesturs and sidekick tell the story of six dramatic seasons on K2

...did you refer to David Roberts as Ed Viesturs' sidekick?
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Postby D Watson » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:03 am

jspeigl wrote:Dave,

Thanks for this picture! I'm reading the book, and it is hard to picture what Viesturs is describing in the different accounts of the climbs. This picture really helps. So the highest camp on the shoulder must be camp 4, and the big serac above is the "Motivator." Where would House's chimney be? Thanks.

Image


House's chimney would be the cliff band directly below the lowest camp pictured (camp 2, 6600m)
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Postby Scott » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:33 pm

Just finished the book. I enjoyed it and enjoyed the fact that with rare exceptions he didn't second guess most climbers as someone posted here; it seemed the people whom he second guessed were from the media or the ones who second guessed too many people while writing other books.

There are some minor historical errors in Viesturs' book, but there was lots of new information that I haven’t read before, such as the 2004 confessions of (Lacedelli) one of the 1954 first ascensionist (I haven’t read the Price of Conquest). Everyone knows the controversy that has been going on for over 50 years now, but if the confession (which confession of course is a product of Lacedelli rather than any conjecture from Viesturs or others) really is true than Compagnoni is truly one of the “bad guys” of mountaineering.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.
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Postby Arthur Digbee » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:23 pm

drjohnso1182 wrote:
Arthur Digbee wrote:In this book, well-known mountaineer Ed Viesturs and sidekick tell the story of six dramatic seasons on K2

...did you refer to David Roberts as Ed Viesturs' sidekick?


Heh-heh.

From the standpoint of evaluating the book, as a book, I'll defend that. It's written in the first person singular, as Viesturs. As many of us commented so far in this thread, Viesturs is a heckuva climber but the man can't write. So I'm guessing that he (or his publisher) hired Roberts as a ghost writer to clean it up.

There's only so much the poor man could do.

Didn't mean to imply any denigration of Roberts as a climber.
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response to climbaxe

Postby stamina » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:18 pm

Sorry buddy but I completely disagree with you on your review of No Shorcuts To The Top by Ed written in conjunction to David Roberts. Ed's story of his path is written with honesty, passion, and great lessons along the way on how to do it right, many times sacrificing summits for lives (actually every time while on a climb when events transpired and a life was at stake). I look forward to this new K2 book as I try to learn as much as I can, and use these lessons, which can be applied to every day life. I really could not disagree with you more.

PS On The Ridge Line Between Life and Death by David Roberts is also a must read for all climbers, which poses some great questions/opinions as why we risk for this passion for climbing.
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Postby Misha » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:07 am

Reading the K2 book now. So far, not impressed with the narrative. I liked No Shortcuts to the Top and love most of the David Roberts' books.

Steve House on the other hand kept me completely captivated. I could not put the book down until I finished it. Four or so hours, car to car :)
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Postby Sam Page » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:57 pm

Having climbed on Mt. Everest with Ed Viesturs -- or more accurately, having observed Ed Viesturs for a few moments at Everest Basecamp while I panted weakly -- I felt eminently qualified to write the definitive review (or at least a review) of K2, the book. Here it is.
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