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Mount Logan
Canada's Highest



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Canada's Highest
PostThu May 12, 2005 8:38 am 
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Ed Viesturs completed his 14th!!!

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002272076_webclimber12.html
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Slugman
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PostFri May 13, 2005 11:01 pm 
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You should read the story about his wife and family in today's Seattle Times. They are the saddest-looking group of people I have ever seen. The look on his four-year-old daughter's face almost broke my heart. Even the baby looked worried to death, and his wife looked ready to cry. His wife was amazingly open and forthright with the interviewer. She talked about actually hating him at times during the night, when she thought he must be dead due to the length of time he was gone from the last camp without any word. She felt she could go on without him, but how would she tell the kids if he was killed? And let's face it, he faced a huge risk of dying on this climb, like maybe 10% or more, especially at his age of 45, old for any type of elite athlete. I can't fault him for doing what he does, but the article sure made me think about his accomplishment in a new light.

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"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more..."  Childe Harold
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Blake
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PostSat May 14, 2005 11:50 am 
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Slugman wrote:
You should read the story about his wife and family in today's Seattle Times. They are the saddest-looking group of people I have ever seen. The look on his four-year-old daughter's face almost broke my heart. Even the baby looked worried to death, and his wife looked ready to cry. His wife was amazingly open and forthright with the interviewer. She talked about actually hating him at times during the night, when she thought he must be dead due to the length of time he was gone from the last camp without any word. She felt she could go on without him, but how would she tell the kids if he was killed? And let's face it, he faced a huge risk of dying on this climb, like maybe 10% or more, especially at his age of 45, old for any type of elite athlete. I can't fault him for doing what he does, but the article sure made me think about his accomplishment in a new light.


Annapurna's ratio of deaths to successful summits is the highest of any 8K meter peak. Something like 1:4.
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Snowshoe Hare
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Joined: 03 Dec 2004
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PostSat May 14, 2005 6:23 pm 
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I wonder if Columbus and his fellow explorers left a wife and kids back at home? Maybe he shoulda been a door to door salesman and played it safe.  wink.gif

Maybe moms like "first teacher in space" Christa McAuliffe who was among those killed in the Challenger disaster should stay on earth and have less-riskier jobs- or the predominantly male astronaut corps should be made up of only unmarried, childless males.

I don't know the details at all of Ed Viesturs' family background- such as was he climbing when she married him- did she climb either before or after having kids? Because if she married him and they had children knowing that he was making a career out of big mountain climbing, well, that changes thing just a little bit in judging their situation.

I'm saying all of this just to get another viewpoint out into the discussion. Now if both parents decided to leave the kids with a babysitter or grandparent and pursue "risky" things,  that to me isn't very defendable.
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Newt
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PostSat May 14, 2005 6:37 pm 
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Ah poopie.

You can die on Rainier, Baker, Hood & Adams. Even Pilchuck. Or the freeway for that matter. Life is a risk in its self. Anyone that has a dream and sets a goal to accomplish it deserves a pat on the back if it's done. up.gif

Unless you worked your way to the top of Enron that is. down.gif

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It's pretty safe to say that if we take all of man kinds accumulated knowledge, we still don't know everything. So, I hope you understand why I don't believe you know everything. But then again, maybe you do.
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Slugman
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PostSun May 15, 2005 1:54 pm 
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Columbus was exploring the world, Christa McAuliff was advancing human knowledge, Ed Viesturs was merely putting another notch  on his belt. No public good of any kind could possibly have come from his climb, it was a purely personal achievement with no value to anyone in the world except him. So your two comparative examples are very poor examples. A much better analogy would be a race-car driver or sky-diver other thrill-seeker risking death for purely personal reasons and no general benefit to humanity at all. Except that what he did was far more dangerous than either of those examples. It's not even like he was the first to climb the mountain!

So I admire him from the standpoint of his accomplishment being very difficult. But I don't admire him from the standpoint of risking terrible emotional hurt to his innocent children just for his own personal benefit. Now he can sit back and say "I'm the only American who has ever done this inherently useless thing, whoopee!" If he had been killed, his gravestone should have said "Left his family behind in a pursuit of a totally worthless belt notch."

The purpose of my comments here is not to slam the guy. He lives his own life with no advice from me. I was just trying to point out that it wasn't all hard work and ticker-tape parades. There was real risk that children would be emotionally damaged for life in the pursuit of something with no value whatsoever to society. So I hope his accomplishment is worth it to him for the risks he took. He is obviously a very driven person, so it probably is.

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"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more..."  Childe Harold
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Snowshoe Hare
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PostSun May 15, 2005 3:18 pm 
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Oh baloney, Columbus was out for his own personal glory and advancement as much as anyone, and doing it in a far riskier way than Viesturs. I disagree that Viesturs accomplishment adds nothing to society- it serves as another inspiring example of accomplishing goals and what we are capable of doing in the face of daunting challenges. So what if he wasn't the first to conquer Annapurna- that wasn't the point of the climb- it was to be among the select few that have summited the 14 highest points on Earth- and without supplemental oxygen. I'd say from a physiological point of view alone people like him can be (and are) studied for medical science, adding something to society. Sure he has chosen to take part in a risky way of life, but from all evidence he certainly isn't reckless about it and has even been chided for being so "safe". You just can't win. I see you acknowledged this in the other Viesturs thread,  calling him a bigger hero for that, not a lesser one.  confused.gif  So I guess that is along the lines he is a heroic climber but not father in that sense? Yes, I would feel better if parents wouldn't subject their children to possibly being father or motherless, but it's speculative to say how "emotionally damaged" they would be. Some would take it better than others. It's interesting how many children of killed mountaineers take up the activity later in life. Got to be in their blood.
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UGH
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PostSun May 15, 2005 3:55 pm 
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Slugman wrote:
his wife looked ready to cry. His wife was amazingly open and forthright with the interviewer. She talked about actually hating him at times during the night .

Hmmmmmmmmm ...

"Viesturs and long time climbing partner Veikka Gustafsson of Finland, ... Viesturs and Gustafsson, traveling extremely light to save weight on the arduous climb from Annapurna's camp two, had only a single down sleeping bag to share in their tent for two nights "

Veikka sounds like a voman, don't it? 

devilsmile.gif  banana.gif  wub.gif




--UGH
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Newt
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PostSun May 15, 2005 6:29 pm 
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Slugman wrote:
Now he can sit back and say "I'm the only American who has ever done this inherently useless thing, whoopee!"

I don't think he's that kind of guy.

What's your goals?

Newt

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It's pretty safe to say that if we take all of man kinds accumulated knowledge, we still don't know everything. So, I hope you understand why I don't believe you know everything. But then again, maybe you do.
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oosik
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PostSun May 15, 2005 6:46 pm 
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Quote:
Veikka sounds like a voman, don't it?

That would be no

http://www.veikka.com/english/uk_veikka.html
http://climb.mountainzone.com/interviews/2000/gustafsson/html/

After meeting several Europeans on a recent trip, I've learned that you can't determine whether a European is male or female from name alone.
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Slugman
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PostSun May 15, 2005 7:14 pm 
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I am only responding to the flood of responses that imply this was a 100% good, 0% bad, thing. It was not. It had large potential costs. That's my point, nothing more. Funny how his wife agrees with me, but some of you don't. I figured she knows what she was talking about. And it's not mere speculation that losing a father can be tough emotional blow to a four-year-old girl or a seven-year-old boy, just basic human psychology.

As far as my praising him for being a careful climber after dinging him for climbing at all under the circumstances, I don't see it as a contradiction. He didn't have to climb it, so in one instance I'm looking at from that standpoint, that it wasn't carved in stone that he would do the climb at all (the ding). But he did climb it, so then it is being discussed from the standpoint of it actually happening, and any aspect related to his not doing it at all is then rendered moot, therefore the praise for how he did it. So I dinged him for doing something dangerous, but then praised him for doing it a manner deemed safety-concious by other experts in the field.

I thought the Times article was interesting and unusual. We most often hear how things are either perfect or terrible, not how things are complicated and troublesome but still overall good or bad on balance. I think his accomplishment is great for him, and for those who follow this kind of thing, or who are looking for heroes in general and can't find any in their own lives.

It was poor choice by me to use the word "worthless". It is a word with too much negativity to properly convey my meaning. I meant that his accomplishment didn't feed any hungry people or end any wars or advance the cause of freedom and democracy, nor was he even the first person to climb that mountain, nor the first to do all those peaks in a carreer. I should have said the accomplishment was "merely personal", that sounds much less harsh than "worthless". Sorry.

--------------
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more..."  Childe Harold
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Newt
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PostSun May 15, 2005 7:36 pm 
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I agree that it's dangerous. It's not carved in stone that he had to climb it or any other mountain. It's probably carved in his soul instead. Sure his wife should be on needles and pins but remember, he's been climbing since the 70's, they met in '94 & got married in 96. Then honeymooned on Everest. I would think she knew what Ed was all about. It's just that this climb was a touch more dangerous.

I would attempt it too if I could. But, alas, I can't.

Newt

--------------
It's pretty safe to say that if we take all of man kinds accumulated knowledge, we still don't know everything. So, I hope you understand why I don't believe you know everything. But then again, maybe you do.
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