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First American to climb all 8k peaks

Posted by Richard on May 14, 2005

On Thursday, Ed Viesturs reached the 26,545-foot summit of Annapurna in Nepal. He thus became the first American to climb all fourteen 8000-meter peaks. The expedition has a Web page at MSN, and there are some stunning photos, along with audio and video clips. Of the summit push, it says:

The team climbed just over 4,000 feet from their camp at 22,500 feet to the 26,545-foot summit in about 11 hours. They made their way through a steep crevasse- and sérac-ridden section for the first third the climb. Then the five climbers took a long, arcing path up a steep, snowy face to reach the bottom of a rock face leading to the summit.

The climbers reached the summit together at 2 p.m. under clear sunlit skies. In our conversation Ed relayed his partner Veikka’s incredible strength and endurance. "Veikka kicked trail for the last half of the day and I couldn’t catch up with [him]," Ed said. "The Italians are phenomenal," he added. Indeed, tagging a summit like Annapurna, called by some the most dangerous 8,000-meter peak, takes a team effort.

For those of you unfamiliar with Himalayan expeditions, ascending 4000 feet in one day is pretty remarkable. It’s almost Reinhold Messner-like.

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