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Ed Viesturs

Adventure / Travel, Everest Climbers, Inspirational, Motivational Speaker, Team Building

Travels from Washington, USA

Ed Viesturs's speaking fee falls within range:
$20,000 to $25,000

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Ed Viesturs Profile

Since he was a child growing up in the flatlands of Rockford, Illinois, Ed Viesturs has been fascinated by mountain climbing. When he was working as a veterinarian in the 1980s, he took months off at a time to climb in the Himalayas. Ultimately he was forced to choose between being a veterinarian or a climber; he chose to climb. In 1992, he became a recognized mountaineer when he won the American Alpine Club/Sowles Memorial Award for his involvement in two separate rescues on K-2, the second highest mountain in the world.

Ed Viesturs became world-renowned for his 1996 summit of Mount Everest, which was chronicled in the PBS Nova IMAX film, Into the Death Zone. In 1999 he completed his ascents of Manaslu and Dhaulagiri, both sponsored by National Geographic as part of their “Quest for Adventure” lecture series, “Pushing the Limits.” In 2000 he appeared as himself in the Sony Pictures film, The Vertical Limit, about a fictional climb of K-2. He has also authored Himalayan Quest, a book of photographs from 12 of the highest points on the planet.

In 2004, Ed Viesturs became one of only two non-Sherpa to summit Mount Everest for the sixth time. He is the only American and one of only five people to climb the six highest peaks in the world without supplemental oxygen. He is currently on a quest to climb the world’s 14 highest mountains without the use of supplemental oxygen, and he has successfully climbed 13 to date.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio
      • Ed Viesturs is America’s leading high-altitude mountaineer, and has climbed many of the world’s most challenging summits. In May of 2004, Ed Viesturs became one of only two non-Sherpa to summit Mount Everest for the sixth time. He is the only American and one of only five people to climb the six highest peaks in the world without supplemental oxygen. Ed Viesturs is currently on a quest to climb the world’s fourteen highest mountains without the use of supplemental oxygen, and has successfully climbed thirteen to date.

    Ed Viesturs was born in 1959 and grew up in the flatlands of Rockford, Illinois, where the highest objects on the horizon were water towers. In high school, he read and was captivated by Annapurna, the French climber Maurice Herzog’s famous and grisly account of the first ascent of an 8,000-meter peak in 1950.

    Ed Viesturs left the Midwest for the University of Washington in 1977 and inaugurated a long-running obsession with Mount Rainier. He eventually landed a job as a guide with Rainier Mountaineering Inc., and then began a four-year period combining veterinary studies with guiding during the summer. After becoming a veterinarian in 1987, Ed Viesturs practiced in two clinics that reluctantly gave him months off at a time to climb in the Himalayas. Finally, his absences were too long and too frequent, and he was forced to make the choice between being a veterinarian or be a climber. He chose the mountains.

    Known for his technical skill and shrewd judgment, Ed Viesturs became a recognized mountaineer when he won the 1992 American Alpine Club/Sowles Memorial Award. This award is “conferred from time to time on mountaineers for their unselfish devotion at personal risk to themselves, or at sacrifice of a major objective, in going to the assistance of fellow climbers imperiled in the mountains.” It was given to him for his involvement in two separate rescues in 1992 on K-2, the second highest mountain in the world.

    Ed Viesturs became world renowned because of David Breashears’ seminal IMAX film, Everest, and the PBS NOVA film project, Into the Death Zone. As the climbing leader of the 1996 Everest IMAX Filming Expedition, which entailed the first-ever filmed ascent to the summit of Everest with a large-format IMAX camera, Ed Viesturs put his successful Everest summits count at five.

    In the spring of 1999, Ed Viesturs completed the ascents of Manaslu and Dhaulagiri. The expedition, which was sponsored by National Geographic, was featured as a part of their “Quest for Adventure” spring 2000 lecture series, “Pushing the Limits.” Ed Viesturs appeared in the Sony Pictures film The Vertical Limit, about a fictional climb of K-2. Ed Viesturs plays himself in the film, which was a major blockbuster for the summer 2000.

    The Explorers Club, a multidisciplinary, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore and to the advancement of field and scientific research, honored Ed Viesturs with the “Lowell Thomas Award.” Ed Viesturs is the author of Himalayan Quest, which features photographs and images from 12 of the highest points on the planet.

Ed Viesturs Speaking Videos

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Ed Viesturs's Speech Descriptions

Ed Viesturs has spoken to dozens of large corporations and small groups. Drawing on his 27 years of climbing experience, Ed Viesturs motivates audiences to work together and achieve their goals. He discusses topics like teamwork, goal setting, perseverance, risk management and inspirational entertainment. Each of his programs includes a PowerPoint presentation featuring dramatic photos from his many expeditions.

Everest Speaker Ed Viesturs is available for lectures and appearances at your next event. He has spoken to dozens of large corporations and small groups. His themes include teamwork, goal setting, perseverance, risk management 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.

Suggested Speaking Topics:

  • Everest: Rise to the Challenge
  • Slide Show Lecture: “Climbing the World’s Highest Peaks”
  • Set Your Own Goals
  • Team Success is Individual Success
  • Planning is the Key to Achievement
  • Integrity of Approach is Paramount

What People are Saying about Seeing Ed Speak

Rating Entries

    “Your story inspired our financial consultants to look beyond their perceived limitations, both professionally and personally, and to think about how they can continually raise the bar in all aspects of their life.”
    Merrill Lynch

    “Thank you for making our weekend retreat a great success. Your talk was the highlight of the retreat. You hit all the right points that we hoping for – achieving individual growth aspirations and being a team player. I′ll look forward to following your career to complete all 14 peaks successfully and safely.”
    McKinsey & Company, Inc.

    “Our group of 280 people were all current or former CEO′s of mid to large size companies. A group not easily impressed. We wanted a keynoter to open this conference of business leaders from all over the world who would be both inspiring and challenging. Ed Viesturs filled the bill perfectly! The fascinating presentation by this bright, articulate world class athlete had a great impact on the audience and got our conference off to an exciting start.”
    John Durbin,
    Chairman,
    InfrastruX Group for the Chief Executives Organization

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Books by Ed Viesturs:

    K2: Life and Death on the World′s Most Dangerous Mountain
    A thrilling chronicle of the tragedy-ridden history of climbing K2, the world′s most difficult and unpredictable mountain, by the bestselling authors of No Shortcuts to the Top

    At 28,251 feet, the world′s second-tallest mountain, K2 thrusts skyward out of the Karakoram Range of northern Pakistan. Climbers regard it as the ultimate achievement in mountaineering, with good reason. Four times as deadly as Everest, K2 has claimed the lives of seventy-seven climbers since 1954. In August 2008 eleven climbers died in a single thirty-six-hour period on K2–the worst single-event tragedy in the mountain′s history and the second-worst in the long chronicle of mountaineering in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges. Yet summiting K2 remains a cherished goal for climbers from all over the globe. Before he faced the challenge of K2 himself, Ed Viesturs, one of the world′s premier high-altitude mountaineers, thought of it as “the holy grail of mountaineering.”

    In K2: Life and Death on the World′s Most Dangerous Mountain, Viesturs explores the remarkable history of the mountain and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time he probes K2′s most memorable sagas in an attempt to illustrate the lessons learned by confronting the fundamental questions raised by mountaineering–questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one′s teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory. Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and were nearly killed in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death. Fortunately, Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott′ s.

    Focusing on seven of the mountain′s most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs and Roberts crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs′s personal collection and from historical sources, this is the definitive account of the world′s ultimate mountain, and of the lessons that can be gleaned from struggling toward its elusive summit.

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    Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs Summits all Fourteen 8,000-Meter Giants
    Now updated to include the triumphant culmination of a monumental quest—to stand on the summits of all fourteen of the world’s highest mountains—Himalayan Quest offers an unforgettable glimpse into the remarkable world of Ed Viesturs, America’s best-known high altitude climber, and the breathtaking landscape in which he works. It is an unparalleled showcase of both the heartbreaking tragedy and the ineffable joy Viesturs has experienced while striving at the limits of human endurance.

    At the center of this extraordinary account of his mountaineering adventures are Viesturs’s own awe-inspiring photographs from the top of the world. This collection of images will show readers the deadly beauty and haunting menace of the Himalaya. A unique, inspiring, and spine-tingling glimpse into the rarified world of the extreme climber, Himalayan Quest will appeal not only to Viesturs’s significant fan base (fondly known as Edophiles or Edheads), but also to outdoor aficionados and armchair adventurers everywhere.

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    No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World′s 14 Highest Peaks
    This gripping and triumphant memoir follows a living legend of extreme mountaineering as he makes his assault on history, one 8,000-meter summit at a time. For eighteen years Ed Viesturs pursued climbing’s holy grail: to stand atop the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, without the aid of bottled oxygen.

    But No Shortcuts to the Topis as much about the man who would become the first American to achieve that goal as it is about his stunning quest. As Viesturs recounts the stories of his most harrowing climbs, he reveals a man torn between the flat, safe world he and his loved ones share and the majestic and deadly places where only he can go.

    A preternaturally cautious climber who once turned back 300 feet from the top of Everest but who would not shrink from a peak (Annapurna) known to claim the life of one climber for every two who reached its summit, Viesturs lives by an unyielding motto, “Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory. ”

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