(This book begins here.)
Viesturs goes from rookie Ranier guide to a sponsored mountaineer ticking off 8,000ers during this section of the book. After a couple guiding trips to Denali, he is invited on an Everest expedition to the Great Couloir by Lou Whittaker. He makes it to within 300 feet of the summit without supplemental oxygen (he does not use it for his own climbs as a matter of principal), but turns back because the last section (the top of the West Ridge) would have been very dangerous to downclimb without a rope. He serves as a guide to a post-monsoon expedition to the Kangshung Face, only to find it much to dangerous to climb, and the party does not get much higher than base camp. Jim Whittaker (Lou's twin) invites him on an international peace expedition to the North Ridge route, and he summits the mountain in the second summit party. He climbs Kachenjunga and and K2, and becomes the first American to finish "the big three." Over the next several years, Viesturs is invited to climb Everest annually, for a total of seven expeditions and three summits. Additionally, he comes within 100 yards of the summit of Shishipangma on a guiding trip, he and Rob Hall blast up Lhotse in 3 days after summitting Everest one year, and they make trips to Makalu and Gasherbrum I & II, for a total of six summits so far and almost a seventh. He meets the woman of his dreams at a barbecue, and after an extended relationship they get married in February 1996. They both head out to work on Everest for the spring season. Things are about to get tragic. Stay tuned.