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Paying the price of climbing to the top of the world

Viesturs
Viesturs plans to climb all 14 of the world's 8,000 meter peaks  

March 21, 2000
Web posted at: 1:01 p.m. HKT (0501 GMT)

(CNN) -- A grin as big as the whole outdoors spreads across Ed Viesturs face as he describes his office: "It has the best view in the world -- but the commute is a killer."

The 40-year-old American is a professional climber whose workplace is quite literally on top of the world.

Viesturs is one of the world's foremost climbers with multiple ascents of Mount Everest -- the highest mountain on earth -- on his credit list.

His aim is to climb all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters (26,248 feet). Little wonder, he was once labeled "the set of lungs that grew legs."

 VIDEO
VideoCNN's Stacey Wilkins looks at the expensive sport of mountain climbing.
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But it takes more than athletic prowess to be a successful mountaineer these days.

"It took me about 16 years of climbing and calling companies and meeting people and networking until I finally broke that barrier so people could say here's a person we would want to sponsor," Viesturs said.

And sponsorship these days is big business for mountaineers like Viesturs whose core business is taking teams to the top.

The cost for climbing is steep. An expedition to the world's second highest peak, K2 in Pakistan, runs around $50,000 per climber. A trip to Everest has the steepest price at $65,000.

Individual climbers can easily spend $5,000 on equipment.

In the end, however, it takes more than expensive equipment, extensive training and costly guided tours to reach the top. You still have to climb that mountain.

ASIANOW


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