The Ancient Historian

Ancient history, mountaineering, cycling and other outside adventures

Archive for the tag “Mountaineering”

The brutal and sad death of Federico Campanini on Aconcagua

This event in January has caused a real furor in Argentina, rightly so I think. For the video of the rescue attempt, and more information is given over on the Adventurist. aconcagua

Warning, it is really, really grim. It’s easy to arm chair quarterback the events from the comforts of my study in Connecticut. Having said that though, I have a gut reaction to it all, and some questions. What the hell were these guys doing videotaping the attempted rescue would be my first one. Was this for legal protection?? Anyway, I won’t myself post the video. And to be unprepared for a rescue (from the reports, the rescuers were not prepared to find him alive), with no medications (?), or equipment to carry him down, or at least keep him warm, seems appalling to me. Let alone the verbal abuse expressed by some of the rescuers. Maybe that was just to get him going? But the man was suffering from his fall no doubt, and HAPE. I donno. My heart goes out to his family. Donations on behalf of his family, and a guestbook to express thought sif you knew him, can be made HERE.

Ed Viesturs’ bio

I don’t intend my blog to be about nothing but Ed, but at the moment I can’t seem to help myself 🙂         edv011

I just finished his bio No shortcuts to the top. As I said before, it is an awesome read. Besides all of the technical mountaineering that you’d guess his accomplishments would be about, what comes through to me above all is (1) his humanity, and (2)that  mountaineering is more about brains than brawn. The intellectual capacity of world class mountaineering, the problems that you have to think through, the planning to make things go right, and so on, may be easily underestimated by a lot of people. This is where Ed really stands out, and for me it is one of the most appealing aspects of mountain climbing. His success is the result of a formula for all successful people; hard work, dedication, planning, more hard work, ploughing through self-doubt, and of course, some pretty serious talent. I also found the book quite a lot of fun because Ed and I are nearly identical in age to the day, and both grew up in Northern Illinois. So I could compare notes as it were. Our childhoods seem fairly similar; I liked his mention of baseball playing in Summer, and the flooded back yard hockey in the Winter months, and the dislike of scouts Man all of that sounds familiar. But then we diverged. I went east to Ohio State, Ed went West to the University of Washington. When He attempted Everest for the first time, I was in Cairo, working away on a thesis, and trying to figure out a career path. And so on. I am really grateful to Ed for writing his bio; besides the adventure, one can really learn a lot about oneself by reading the book. Better, of course, to get out there! And now, I read today, that Ed is coming out of “retirement” after his Quest for the 14 8000 ers. Yep, he is going for number 7 on Everest this Spring, something like Lance at the Tour de France in 2005. And here my world intersects. Cycling and mountaineering! You can follow Ed on his homepage or at First Ascent. I am certainly going to be glued to the internet. It will be something this Spring to watch with a good deal of awe. Sure wish I could be at base camp! Good luck Ed. and the rest of the Eddie Bauer-sponsored team! And by the way, a new book is forthcoming from Ed in the Fall  about K2. Can’t wait.

paperbackk2-book-cover

Beginning of a nice interview of Ed from greatoutdoors.com, all of it is here. You feel like you are hanging out with Ed having a latte, post Annapurna, the last of the 8000ers. terrific stuff!

Ed Viesturs

From ancient law, I move on briefly to an amazing American, a genuine hero. I have never met him (one of my dreams one day to) although we are nearly identical in age, and grew up in the same part of northern Illinois. Ed Viesturs. I am reading his autobiography now, No Shortcuts to the Top. Climbing the World’s Highest 14 Peaks. Broadway Books, 2006. What an amazing story, to climb all 14 “8000 ers” without supplemental oxygen. Old School stuff, man and mountain, as it should be. Even if you are not into mountaineering, this is a fantastic read. The class of this guy comes through, and it is quite an adventure story. Patience in an impatient world. Craft, in a world of short cuts.

Have a look at the book on Amazon, then get it, or go to the public library, and read it! (I make no money here, it is just a great read) http://www.amazon.com/No-Shortcuts-Top-Climbing-Highest/dp/0767924711/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236913761&sr=8-1

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Photo from Everestnews.com

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