Ed Viesturs | Only American and the 6th person to climb all 14 8000 meter peaks without supplemental oxygen

Ed Viesturs

Only American and the 6th person to climb all 14 8000 meter peaks without supplemental oxygen

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Sun Valley, Idaho, US

Ed Viesturs

Ed is a speaker who helps audiences learn how to become more successful and overcome obstacles by discussing the lessons he learned as professional mountaineer with over 30 years of experience on the highest peaks in the world. The seven time Everest summiteer shows audiences how to reach higher goals, maintain momentum in the face of hardship and stay at the top of their game.

Viesturs is widely regarded as this country's foremost high-altitude mountaineer. He is familiar to many from the 1996 IMAX Everest Expedition documentary and was featured in Jon Krakauer's bestselling book INTO THIN AIR. In 2002, Ed was awarded the historic Lowell Thomas Award by the Explorer's Club for outstanding achievement in the field of mountaineering. In winning the award, he joined an elite group of climbers including Sir Edmund Hillary.

His speeches are based on his experiences and lessons learned in the mountain arena, touching on subjects such as Risk Management, Leadership, Team Work, Overcoming Major Obstacles, and Decision Making Under Pressure

Viesturs has successfully reached the summits of all of the world's fourteen 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, an 18 year project he christened Endeavor 8000. His goal was completed on May 12, 2005 with his ascent of Annapurna one of the world's most treacherous peaks. He is one of only a handful of climbers in history (and the only American) to accomplish this. That year Viesturs was awarded National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year.

Viesturs motto has always been that climbing has to be a round trip. All of his planning and focus during his climbs maintains this ethic and he is not shy about turning back from a climb if conditions are too severe. In spite of his conservative attitude Viesturs has been one of the most successful Himalayan climbers in American history. His story is about risk management as well as being patient enough for conditions to allow an ascent. Ultimately, in his words, "The mountain decides whether you climb or not. The art of mountaineering is knowing when to go, when to stay, and when to retreat."

Viesturs is the author of four books. His bestselling autobiography "No Shortcuts To The Top" covers, in detail, Ed Viesturs' career as a mountaineer, how he prepared for his expeditions and his philosophy about how he managed the inherent risks.

Viesturs now lives in Ketchum, Idaho with his wife of 20 years, Paula, and their four children. He continues to go on adventures. On May 19th 2009 he made his 7th ascent of Everest. In January of 2011 he lead a climb of Vinson Massiff, the highest peak in Antarctica, at '16,066. Most recently in August 2016 he made his 217th ascent of 14,410' Mt. Rainier.

Ed Viesturs
Featured Videos

Current: The Will to Climb

Time 30:16

More Videos From Ed Viesturs

The Will to Climb
Time 30:16
National Association of Counties
Time 43:24
Time 13:31

Ed Viesturs
Featured Keynote Programs

Program Themes

His themes include Risk management, Team Work, Goal Setting, Perseverance, and inspirational entertainment in general.

His lectures are based on his experiences from 27 years of climbing and include a PowerPoint presentation with dramatic expedition photos.


Viesturs lecture discusses (and documents) his primary goal of climbing the World’s 14 peaks over 8000 meters (26,000’ and above) without supplemental oxygen-a project he titled Endeavor 8000. This effort took him 18 years to complete and in doing so became the only American and one of five people to accomplish this feat. The themes interwoven within this story are team work, leadership, goal setting, overcoming obstacles, commitment and risk management. His images showcase these efforts and complement the talk.

Key points-
1."Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory". Climbing a mountain has to be a round trip. You need to plan ahead and have resources to make sure you finish what you set out to do.
2."Listen to your instincts". Make decisions based on your experience and gut feelings. Don't get caught up in group think.
3. "Temper your ambition in the face of overwhelming risk". Be patient enough to wait for the right time to move forward, even if others are going ahead. My motto has always been “The mountain decides whether you climb or not. The art of mountaineering is knowing when to go, when to stay, and when to retreat.”
4. "Patience and persistence are keys to success but I believe that passion is the most critical ingredient". If you are passionate with what you do, you'll perform better, enjoy the process and be willing to take as long as it takes to succeed.
5. “Teamwork, regardless of the industry, is the same: It is an implicit trust in, and recognition that the person next to you is No. 1”.

Typical length 45 minutes plus time for Q&A.

Everest Imax Expedition 1996 -Mountain Without Mercy

Viesturs lecture documents his roll in the 1996 Everest Imax expedition as climbing leader and featured character in what became the largest grossing Imax film in history.
This was Viesturs’ eighth expedition to Mt Everest and his fourth successful summit of the mountain. The main challenge of this project was to get a 40 pound Imax camera to the summit-something people had deemed impossible. He and his team spent three months filming and climbing, and near the end of this fateful season, were present during the tragedy that killed eight people high on Everest when a storm overwhelmed them. Although his team was not directly involved, they provided supplies and manpower to save lives after the deadly events of May 10, which were also well documented in Jon Krakauer’s best seller INTO THIN AIR. Viesturs and his team eventually succeeded in their mission, despite many difficult obstacles and challenges. Team work, having a common goal, a flexible plan and trusting their own instincts were essential ingredients for their success.

Listen to the Mountain

In this talk, Viesturs discusses how his experiences in the mountaineering arena taught him how to manage risk and an ever-changing environment. During his career as a mountain guide and then as a professional climber, he learned how to mitigate risk while leading teams of novices as well as pursuing his own goal to climb the world’s 14 8000 meter peaks without oxygen. This project, which he christened, Endeavor 8000, took 18 years to complete. It was knowing how to temper his ambition in the face of risk, that allowed Viesturs not only to eventually succeed, but to also survive. The key was knowing that the mountains, and not he, ultimately decided what direction to take. Situational awareness, team strength, weather and snow conditions, were the factors that Viesturs used to helped decide what to do. The essential ingredients were using his experience, training, as well as instinct, to make hard decisions, while not allowing external pressures or complacency change how he made those decisions. These are things that business leaders are faced with everyday.

Ed Viesturs
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