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Download The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the Worlds Deadliest Peak Audiobook, by Ed Viesturs Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (146 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ed Viesturs, David Roberts Narrator: Fred Sanders Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2011 ISBN: 9780307944139
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The bestselling author of No Shortcuts to the Top and K2chronicles his three attempts to climb the world's tenth-highest and statistically deadliest peak, Annapurna in the Himalaya, while exploring the dramatic and tragic history of others who have made -- or attempted – the ascent, and what these exploits teach us about facing life's greatest challenges.

As a high school student in the flatlands of Rockford, Illinois, where the highest objects on the horizon were water towers, Ed Viesturs read and was captivated by the French climber Maurice Herzog's famous and grisly account of the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950. When he began his own campaign to climb the world's 14 highest peaks in the late 1980s, Viesturs looked forward with trepidation to undertaking Annapurna himself. Two failures to summit in 2000 and 2002 made Annapurna his nemesis. His successful 2005 ascent was the triumphant capstone of his climbing quest. In The Will To Climb Viesturs brings the extraordinary challenges of Annapurna to vivid life through edge-of-your-seat accounts of the greatest climbs in the mountain’s history, and of his own failed attempts and eventual success.  In the process he ponders what Annapurna reveals about some of our most fundamental moral and spiritual questions--questions, he believe, that we need to answer to lead our lives well.

"Of all fourteen of the world's highest mountains, which I climbed between 1989 and 2005," writes Viesturs, "the one that came the closest to defeating my best efforts was Annapurna.” Although it was the first 8,000-meter peak to be climbed,  Annapurna is not as well known as the world's highest mountain, Everest, or second highest, K2. But as Viesturs argues, Annapurna, while not technically the most difficult of the 8,000ers, is the most daunting because it has no route--no ridge or face on any side of the mountain--that is relatively free of what climbers call "objective danger"—the threat of avalanches, above all, but also of collapsing seracs (huge ice blocks), falling rocks, and crevasses. Since its first ascent in 1950, Annapurna has been climbed by more than 130 people, but 53 have died trying. This high fatality rate makes Annapurna the most dangerous of the 8,000-meter peaks. 

Viesturs and co-author David Roberts chronicle Ed's three attempts to climb Annapurna, as well as the attempts of others, from the two French climbers who made the landmark first ascent of Annapurna on June 3, 1950, through the daring and tragic campaigns of such world-class mountaineers as Reinhold Messner and Anatoli Boukreev. Viesturs's accounts and analyses of these extraordinary adventures serve as a point of departure for his exploration of themes vividly illustrated by Annapurna expeditions, including obsession and commitment, fear and fulfillment, failure and triumph--issues that have been neglected in the otherwise very rich literature of mountaineering, and that can inform the lives and actions of everyone.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 1/19/2014

    " I won a copy of this book and received it last week and it is absolutely amazing so far! Ed has a way of writing so that you feel like you're right there with him on the mountain...and my hands sometimes sweat like I'm 20,000 feet up! So far, so amazing! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holly | 1/6/2014

    " enjoyable and inspiring, although not quite as great as Viesturs' other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan O'brien | 12/8/2013

    " This is another solid Viesturs mountaineering book. I hadn't read much about Annapurna but she is a beast of a mountain. I'm keeping my distance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 12/4/2013

    " Story of the author's path to climbing Annapurna, as well as the history of others' attempts at this mountain. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrian Neal | 11/28/2013

    " Great book! This book not only chronicles Ed's adventures on Annapurna, but also highlights the attempts of others as well on this dangerous mountain. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rich | 9/23/2013

    " If you've read Ed Viesturs other books, you'll realize this one covers some of the same ground, but there's still enough new material here to make it worth the read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 4/2/2013

    " Viesturs phoned this one in. It's a sloppily-edited rehash of mountaineering anecdotes from other climber's books. It's also full of sniping at Jon Krakauer, who really writes good stuff about climbing. Take a pass on this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn Drennan | 1/6/2013

    " Ed Viesturs always tells a good story, but the book almost seemed a little disorganized and in some ways, perfunctory in places. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky Littlechilds | 9/21/2012

    " Each chapter describes a notable chapter in the history of climbing Annapurna. The author's own experiences climbing in the Himalaya are interspersed throughout. Very accessible. I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 allimo | 9/9/2012

    " Surprisingly, less of this was rehashing the same stories from "No Shortcuts" than I expected. As always, I really appreciated the accounts of historical climbs and the death and danger encountered by the brave souls attempting such a deadly mountain. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 6/20/2012

    " Another excellent read! I really like his style, it sounds just like his lectures and shares both the mountaineering experience and general climbing history that most people are not aware of. Can't wait to see what mountain he covers next! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sanjeev Asher | 2/18/2012

    " Must read for people interested in Mountaineering. Story of great adventure, discipline and will power and above all knowing your limitations and respecting nature. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 2/17/2012

    " I found this an interesting history of attempts to climb Annapurna, including Viesturs' own three attempts, the last successful in 2005. The author is the first (and perhaps still the only) American to climb all of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks in the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stan | 2/3/2012

    " One of several books I am reading for the Banff Mountain Book Festival this year. I'm not too far into this yet, but if it is like previous collaborations between Viesturs and Roberts it will be good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yvonne | 1/19/2012

    " Interesting stories on the Annapurna's ascents. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/6/2011

    " Another excellent read! I really like his style, it sounds just like his lectures and shares both the mountaineering experience and general climbing history that most people are not aware of. Can't wait to see what mountain he covers next! "

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About the Author
Author Ed ViestursIn May 2005 ED VIESTURS became the first American to ascend all fourteen of the world's 8,000-meter peaks. He lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his wife and three children.
About the Narrator

Fred Sanders, winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, has received critics’ praise for his audio narrations that range from nonfiction and memoir to fiction and mystery and suspense.