Ed Viesturs, America’s Top Mountaineer, Returns To Everest

Yesterday we mentioned that Kathmandu has become a very busy place this week as climbers and trekkers heading to the Himalaya arrive in the city before setting out on their various adventures in the more mountainous regions of Nepal. Amongst those making the journey once again this year is Ed Viesturs, who many consider to be America’s premiere mountaineer.

Viesutrs has a long, and storied career climbing mountains, and has topped out on some of the most famous peaks in the world, including Rainier, Denali, and of course Everest, which he’s successfully summitted six times. Back in 2005, on his third attempt at the mountain, Viesturs added Annapurna to his resume, completing his Endeavour 8000 project, which was a decade long mission to reach the summit of the world’s 14 8000 meter peaks. Not only did Ed finish this task, becoming the first, and to date only, American to do so, he topped out on each of the mountains without the use of supplemental oxygen.

After finishing the Endeavour 8000 project, Ed vowed to retire from climbing the big peaks, saying that he had accomplished everything that he had ever hoped to do on those mountains, and for a time, his attention was drawn to other adventures. But the lure of the Himalaya is strong, and Viesturs is once again in Kathmandu, planning to make an attempt on Everest, and claim his seventh summit on the world’s tallest mountain.

For this attempt, Ed is part of an all-star team of climbers, that includes Dave Hahn, who has 10 Everest summits to his credit already, and Peter Whittacker, son of legendary climber Lou Whittaker and nephew to Jim Whittaker. The team was put together by gear manufacturer Eddie Bauer, who are launching a new line of outdoor gear uner the First Ascent label.

There will be few teams on Everest with as much experience as this one. But they’ll have to still go through the same process if they hope to successfully reach the top of the mountain. Over the next few weeks they’ll be acclimatizing, establishing their high camps, and preparing to make their summit bid. With any luck, Viesturs will soon be adding another chapter to his already substantial legend, standing at the Roof of the World for the seventh time.