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Ed Viesturs | TEDxRainier

Ed Viesturs is widely regarded as this country’s foremost high-altitude mountaineer. Viesturs grew up in the flatlands of Illinois, where the highest objects on the horizon were the water towers. When he came to the University of Washington in 1977, he became obsessed with Mt. Rainier, which he could see from his dorm room. He went on to study veterinary medicine at Washington State University, but couldn’t stay away from the mountains.

Viesturs has climbed Mount Everest seven times. In 2005, upon reaching the summit of Annapurna, he completed an 18-year quest to climb all 14 of the world’s highest mountains without the use of supplemental oxygen, becoming the first American and the fifth person in the world to accomplish this. In addition to mountaineering, Viesturs works as a design consultant for several outdoor equipment manufacturers and does corporate motivational speeches on subjects such as team work and overcoming major obstacles. In 2005, the same year National Geographic awarded him Adventurer of the Year, Viesturs’ autobiography No Shortcuts to the Top was published. He is currently writing a book about his ascent of Annapurna, one of the world’s most treacherous peaks. He plans to climb Vinson Massiff in Antarctica in January.