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Everest 2009 Home Sponsored by National Geographic Books

Ed Viesturs Calls from Pheriche to Review his Summit Strategy

By Ed Viesturs - May 21st, 2009 8:57 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

Hi everyone, it’s Ed Viesturs calling from Pheriche. I’m one day’s walk down valley from Everest base camp on my way to Kathmandu and on the way home. It was kind of nice to get out of base camp and start heading home and I know there’s a lot of questioning now about why and when I decided to use supplemental oxygen. And again, my decision was based on safety and team unity, safety on my behalf and also the anxiety level of my team mates for me going out ahead and being on my own.

I started thinking about this quite a bit when I first arrived at the South Col, it was very cold, very windy up high and I started to contemplate the risks of climbing in those conditions without supplement oxygen. The risks are definitely increased when you climb without supplemental oxygen especially when it’s very very cold and very very windy. I would have had to leave the South Col at least an hour or perhaps two ahead of my team calculating that they may have caught up to me somehow during the day as I would probably have been climbing slower. So I would have been separated from my team, they would have been probably a little worried about me, and I would have been a little bit worried about myself as well especially in those cold and windy conditions.

Once we decided to skip the first day because of weather and then were looking at going on that second option day we still knew it would s be quite cold and windy up high and also the fact we had been waiting at 26,000 feet for over 24 hours which in itself is very debilitation without oxygen. Because of those factors I decided again for the sake of safety and to climb with my team to use supplemental oxygen. There were also a lot of people on the route, we knew there would be some traffic hold ups because of that I couldn’t probably climb as quickly and efficiently as I wanted to stay warm if I went without oxygen, so the decision became quite apparent to all of us, and myself in particular, that the safest option for me would be to climbing using supplemental oxygen . . . (satellite call failed).

Found In:


American Hero


This Canadian non-climber (but avid hiker!) can only partially appreciate your achievements, although I have just enough experience in the mountains to know that what you have done is exceptional. In my opinion, your name is as worthy of mention as any professional athlete, perhaps more so. They don't face the same kinds of challenges or risks, which you so thoughtfully mitigate.

You have always made great decisions, and your decision to use O2 on summit day is no exception. No one should question that -you have nothing to prove to anyone.

Enjoy your acheivements and climb on in safety for your family, fans and yourself.

Posted on May 23, 2009 - 4:17pm
by C. Clarkson

Congrats from Castle Rock, CO

You are such an inspiration to me. At 43 you inspired me to get in the best shape of my life and I am now climbing Colorado's 14ers frequently. What great fun. As far as the O2 decision, I would echo Brad's comment that most folks just were curious what went into your decision.

Posted on May 23, 2009 - 7:23am
by Randy Martin

Congrats from Bainbridge Island

I've been following your journey and am thrilled you made it to the top and back safely. Congratulations!

Posted on May 22, 2009 - 2:41pm
by Lois

Absolutely Nothing to Worry About


In my eyes, you have absolutely nothing to prove. You've already done everything without O's, so there's nothing wrong with taking a stroll to the top of the world with O's now. I'm not sure if people are really criticizing your decision, but they're more wondering WHY you did it because everyone is used to seeing you do it without O's. Have no worries Ed, all the armchair climbers can say what they like, but they really have no idea. Safe hike out...nice work.

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 9:26pm
by Brad


you are the best at what you do no dought have a great trip home BILL Av co.

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 4:34pm
by Bill

Curious about what now for you


The decision to use oxygen is a non-issue in my book. But what now for you? I'm really curious to hear your thoughts and feelings if you are no longer going to climb the 8000 meter peaks. I'm also curious about your thoughts on the tremendous traffic near the top now. Does this diminish the experience for you?

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 3:26pm
by Riley

why you are our hero

Your decision is why we all put you in a class of your own. You have perpetuated the legend that means so much to each of us. I never cease to be amazed by your commitment to doing things the right way.

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 3:15pm
by Joe

You practice what you preach

Congratulations on yet another succesful ascent. I have had the privilege of hearing you speak on a few different occasions and you ALWAYS, ALWAYS stress that getting to the top of a mountain is optional, but getting down is mandatory. Precious few people nowadays practice what they preach, and your rational approach to climbing is why you are so successful and more importantly, why you are still alive. I look forward to hearing all about this climb at your next speaking engagement in the SF Bay Area, enjoy your family and a good rest, you certainly deserve it!

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 2:38pm
by Georgia F

Second to None

Once again Ed you've shown why you're the consummate mountaineer. Congrats and thanks again for capturing in words and pictures what so many of us only dream about. Get home safely to your family and I look forward to your next adventure. Godspeed.

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 1:58pm
by Visitor

You have nothing to prove Ed

Dont let anyone sweat you about this Ed. You have nothing to prove at this point so theres nothing wrong with taking a nice walk in the park to the top of the world. You've dome them all already without O2s so you dont have to prove anything to anyone. Congrats my man!

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 1:36pm
by Visitor


Excellent job, and best decision.
You are a winner, you are # 1.
I have a question for you: ¿can you see a God from the top of the world?
With my best regards.

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 9:52am
by Visitor

Summit strategy


Congrats on your summit success and the entire First Ascent team. Good judgement and good decisions paid off.

Posted on May 21, 2009 - 9:37am
by Ed Quigley

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