Photograph courtesy of First Ascent / Jake Norton. See photographs from Viesturs Everest expedition.
Tomorrow we will officially announce the sixth annual Adventurers of the Year, each honored for their remarkable achievements in the world of adventure. Back in 2005, alpinist Ed Viesturs was named our very first Adventurer of the Year, a title he snagged for becoming the first United States citizen to climb the world's 14 8,000-meter peaks. We thought it would be fun to check back in with some of the amazing people we have honored over the years, starting at the very beginning. Here's what Viesturs has been up to see lately…and a few other facts that might change your life (or at least bring you luck).
What challenges did you face on your latest expedition?
Ed Viesturs: My latest expedition to climb Everest in Nepal had these challenges: It was my 11th expedition to the mountain; I was 50 years old; and there would be lots of other climbers on the mountain, taking away any thought of what might be considered a wilderness experience.
I got through those challenges by acting as if it was my very first trip to the mountain; not taking into account what year I was born; and realizing that everyone else on the mountain had every right to be there just as I did.
What's one surprising item you always bring on an expedition?
EV: I always bring a small bag of trinkets and good luck charms that I call my Ju-Ju bag. It contains numerous little good luck charms I've either found and collected, or have been given by my friends and family. If it's not in my pocket while I'm climbing I feel naked.
How long have you been hooked on adventure?
EV: I knew I was hooked on adventure when I stood on the summit of of my first mountain—Mount St. Helens in 1977. I said to myself, This is it! This is exactly what I've been looking for.
If you weren't a mountaineer, what would you be?
EV: If I weren’t an adventurer, I’d probably be a practicing veterinarian. I went to college and then medical school for a total of eight years and got a degree in Veterinary Medicine. So, I am still today, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, but not working as such. My climbing expeditions got in the way!
What do you look forward to most when you finally return from an expedition?
EV: The thing I look forward to doing most is hanging out with my family and slowly getting back into civilzed life.
EV: For my next expedition, I plan to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica in January 2011.
- Nat Geo Expeditions