Sports Illustrated: Do people with no climbing experience ever call you and say, "Take me up Mount Everest?"
Ed Viesturs: Yes, and I hang up on them. I can lead you and guide you, but I'm not going to drag you. If you can't get to Camp I, how will you get to Camp IV and hit the summit? For Everest, I require a year or two of intensive training.
SI: Can someone fake a climbing r�sum�?
EV: No. I'd figure you out in a heartbeat, and if I turn you around at Base Camp, it's your loss. You've just spent a ton of money, and all you get is to go home. You can argue all you want, but I'm going to win. I'll drag you down if I have to.
SI: After all the unfavorable publicity attending the disaster that was described in Jon Krakauer's best-seller Into Thin Air, what's the state of climbing?
EV: It's everything you wouldn't have thought. Now even the average Joe wants to climb Mount Rainier or a peak in Nepal.
SI: There are queues to get up Mount McKinley. Is it in danger of becoming an amusement park?
EV: Due to the extreme cold—temperatures reach 40 below—Mount McKinley is much more dangerous than many people realize. But if you want to kill yourself, you should be allowed to.
SI: Do the best climbers resent having to share the big peaks with novices?
EV: Not really. Only a limited number of people have the money or the experience to attempt the mountains I go to.