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  • A Life on the Edge

  • Memoirs of Everest and Beyond
  • By: Jim Whittaker
  • Narrated by: Traber Burns
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)

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A Life on the Edge cover art

A Life on the Edge

By: Jim Whittaker
Narrated by: Traber Burns
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Summary

In May of 1963, Seattle mountaineer Jim Whittaker stepped into world history by becoming the first American to summit Mount Everest. More than 50 years later, he is still regarded as a seminal figure in North American mountaineering, as well as an astute businessman who helped create the outdoor recreation industry.

A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond is Jim's courageous, no-punches-pulled autobiography and a look at a peripatetic, sometimes difficult life. Beyond the glory of the Everest summit and his other extraordinary climbing feats, including the first American summit of K2, he openly describes his personal "everyman" experience of social upheaval in the 1960s and '70s, an early divorce, family strife, a passionate new love later in life, near-bankruptcy, and business triumphs and losses. Jim tells it all with verve and honesty and, true to his nature, turns every setback into the stage for new adventure. 

This special 50th anniversary edition celebrates the story of Jim's life and features a new foreword by Ed Viesturs, as well as a new final chapter that brings listeners up to date, including details of Jim's trek to Everest Base Camp in 2012 and his son Leif's recent successful summits of Everest.

©1999, 2013 Jim Whittaker (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about A Life on the Edge

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jim is a legend of a man and I loved this book.

loved it from start to finish, an amazing story of an amazing man achieving amazing things......

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Kept trying but gave up

I kept trying to enjoy it. Some interesting bits but overall struggled to stay invested and interested.

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Fascinating

A wonderfully written account that held me captivated from start to finish.

I am a huge fan of all things Everest and this provides a different perspective for the armchair climber.

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Chance read

Interesting and thought provoking. Very different from usual mountaineering interest. Identifies life values and aims in a great way.

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A really interesting and inspiring book

I don't know very much about mountaineering but it's been amazing listening to the story of this man's life. I was blown away by the amount of time it takes to get to base camp and then onto the summit.

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Inspiring

Fantastic listen which focuses enough on the climbing whilst also getting personal and truthful to heartbreak and triumph

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Profile Image for Sherry Wood
  • Sherry Wood
  • 15-01-21

Such a great book

I read this book not knowing who Jim Whittaker was and I picked because it was free and about one of my bucket lists. (Walking to the base camp of Everest) I am so glad I read this, Jim Whittaker lead such a great adventurous life. I laughed, I cried and just loved this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jason Robletto
  • 23-11-22

Astonishing and fascinating life!

This is a story that never stops.. from insane mountaineering challenges to wild sailing adventures, Jim Whitaker has truly led an amazing life. The narrator is perfect as well. One of the best books on audible.

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  • derrick
  • 31-10-22

Awesome life!

Jim wrote a great book. He has lived an amazing life, very interesting path he took. I especially liked the last part in his closing statements, some wise words.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-10-22

Born to Succeed

Amazing life story. Well worth the time. Failure is not an option even when the goal is not attained... since the commitment and full-on attempt are measures of success.
Highly recommend.

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  • Sheri
  • 23-07-22

Remarkable life story

As a rock climber, mountaineer, and rescue team member myself, this story really resonated with me. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet Jim several times very briefly.
The book is awesome.
The main problem is the narrator mispronounced various things which drove me nuts, but it didn’t detract from the wonderful story.

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  • anonymous
  • 17-07-22

Riveting. Can’t believe it’s free

This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever read. I have bungee jumped off hot air balloons, skydived, and hang glided as well as my dedication- mountaineering. His discussion about fear of heights and the risks and benefits involved with climbing is untouched. Never spoken as well. Audible. . . THANK YOU!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-07-22

A really good book

With a story that spans 40 years . This book will hold your interest and make you wonder.. what next 👍

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  • Graeme Guy
  • 16-06-22

Excellent

This book is highly recommended detailing the ups and downs of the remarkable life of Jim Whittaker. His blatant honesty is refreshing.

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  • Jackie G
  • 04-06-22

Incredible

Such a powerful book and reading. Epic and incredible. Highly recommend to anyone seeking more meaning.

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  • Paul F Rugman-Jones
  • 22-05-22

with the right narrator this could be excellent

Great story but I found it hard to connect with the narrator. He's very clear, but completely failed to put any "life" into the author's words