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Adventure Magazine

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There & Back
Ed Viesturs summits Annapurna. Text as told to Lindsay Yaw

Photo: Two climbers hiking on ice

"Nothing will compare to what it felt like on the summit of Annapurna, a mountain I'd attempted twice before. It's kind of poetic that my final 8,000-meter (26,247-foot) peak was the one that got me climbing in the first place. Maybe I needed all the skills, intelligence, care, and awareness that I've gained on my other ascents to finally take Annapurna and come full circle. There are still adventures I want to have, but I'll be toning it down a notch. It's relaxing to let go."

Ed Viesturs, 46, veterinarian, house builder, first U.S. citizen to summit the world's 14 highest peaks On May 12 at 2 p.m. Nepal time, on the 26,545-foot (8,091-meter) apex of Annapurna, Viesturs became the 12th person to have summited all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter (over 26,247 feet) peaks, and only the sixth to do it without supplemental oxygen. His longtime climbing partner, Finn Veikka Gustafsson, took this photo of Viesturs, roped to Christian Gobbi, of Italy, at about 22,000 feet (6,705 meters). Once at Camp III (22,500 feet or 6,858 meters), Viesturs and Gustafsson hunkered down for three sleepless nights to wait out high winds and flying ice. When the weather finally relented, they pushed hard for 11 hours straight to the summit. Viesturs credits Maurice Herzog's Annapurna, which he read as a kid in Illinois, as his inspiration for climbing mountains.

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Photograph by Veikka Gustafsson

Additional Excerpts
From the print edition, August 2005

• Instant Alaska: Four explorer-worthy fly-in trips.
Hell-Bent for the Arctic: Emerging Explorer Kira Salak takes the ultimate Alaska bike trip
The Map of Us All: Geneticist Spencer Wells's plan to use DNA clues to retrace the origin of humankind
Stalking One Very Cool Cat: Writer Paul Kvinta searches for snow leopards in India
There & Back: Mountaineer Ed Viesturs summits Annapurna
Pelton's World: Our man on the scene explains why he travels alone


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There & Back: MexAMbulance Project
Tom Ritland took this photo of Mexico's Popocatépetl on a trip to climb some of North America's tallest peaks—and donate an ambulance to a local community.

There & Back: The Great Wall Marathon
Ultramarathoner Dr. Nina Cerfolio runs along a 2,000-year-old wall.

There & Back: Greenland
Skiing the largest island on the planet—Camelia Liparoti photographs the powder in Greenland.

There & Back: Italy
Paddling past the Piazza—Olivier Renck goes kayaking in Venice.

There & Back: Canada
Reader Carolanne Markowitz rafts Nunavut's Burnside River.

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August 2005

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