Program 350: Disappearing Places; Ed Viestur's Everest; Vanishing Voices

Release Date: 01-04-2014

On Air Description

Time certainly has a way of changing the world.  On the next Travel with Rick Steves, we'll hear about some of the heritage sites around the world that are in danger of being destroyed by war, weather, and neglect.   We'll learn what is lost when an endangered minority language disappears from earth.    And mountain climbing legend Ed Viesturs (VEES-turs) tells us how he tackles Mount Everest and the rest of the world's highest peaks — without an oxygen mask. 

There's a lot to discover each week on Travel with Rick Steves. 


  • Erica Avrami, director of World Monuments Fund Watch List program
  • Climbing legend Ed Viesturs, co-author of "The Mountain:  My Time on Everest" (Touchstone)
  • Russ Rymer, author of the "Vanishing Voices" article for National Geographic

Related Links

  • The World Monuments Fund has issued its updated "Watch List" of endangered places for 2014, and has an interactive map with details and photos for the sites on the list. 
  • Rick notes that he recently saw how the historic Battir Irrigated Terrances in the West Bank in  Israel are threatened by construction of a controversial wall. 
  • Ed Viesturs' website.  
  • Publisher's website for Ed Viesturs book "The Mountain."
  • Ed Viesturs guides for Rainier Mountaineering
  • Ed serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), an organization that "instills critical life skills in under-resourced youth through wilderness mentoring experiences that help keep kids in school, reduce violence and drug use."
  • The IMAX film "Everest" was released in 1998.
  • Russ Rymer’s website.
  • Russ Rymer's website includes photos and links to his articles and to his latest novel, a mystery called "Paris Twilight."
  • Russ Rymer’s National Geographic article on vanishing languages.
  • The photo gallery to the National Geographic's "Vanishing Voices" project includes a number of Native Americans who are among the last speakers of their languages.

Incidental Music

  • Hector Zazou, Ryuichi Sakamoto, "Harar el les Gallas," Sahara Blue / Tristar Music
  • Aphex Twin, "Blue Calx," Selected Ambient Works, vol. 2 / Sire-Warner Bros.
  • English Chamber Orchestra, Paul Goodwin, cond., "Nursery Suite III: Busy-ness  (Elgar)," A Classical Odyssey (collection) / NARM
  • Sting, "Fragil," Nada Como el Sol (Selecciones Especiales en Espanol Y Português) / A&M
  • * Beaux Arts Trio, "Trio No. 1 in D minor, op. 43, no. 3  (Mendelssohn)," Dvorak & Mendelssohn Trios / Guilde Internationale du Disque 
  • Ian Tamblyn, "Higher Plane," Kicking Up Dust, disc 1 (collection) / Dawson City Music Festival
  • Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Jo Ann Faletta, cond., "The Far Country of Sleep (John Luther Adams)," John Luther Adams:  The Far Country / New Albion
  • Shpongle, "Once Upon the Sea of Blissful Awareness  (Esionjim Remix)," Buddha-Bar VIII (collection)  / George V
  • Aphex Twin, "Grey Stripe," Selected Ambient Works, vol. 2 / Sire-Warner Bros.
  • Paul Winter Consort, vocal by Yangjin Lamu, "Yangjin," Miho:  Journey to the Mountain / Living Music
  • * Cleveland Orchestra, cond. by Christoph von Dohnanyi, "Symphony No. 3 in F major, op. 90, poco allegretto (Brahms),"   Sensual Classics, Too (collection) /  Elektra  
  • Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, "Fragile," LAGQ Latin / Telarc
  • Uman, "Bird's Eye View (Rhythmic Remix)," Traveler ’99 (collection) / Six Degrees Records
  • Jaramar, "La Tortuga," A Native American Odyssey:  Inuit to Inca  (collection) / Putumayo
  • Anatolii Kuular, "Sigit with Igil,"  Tuva:  Voices from the Center of Asia (collection) / Smithsonian Folkways
  • Chum Ngek, "Chamnan," Homrong:  Classical Music from Cambodia / Celestial Harmonies
  • OK! Ryos, "Co Era So," South Pacific Islands (collection) / Putumayo

Dated References

  • Venice is mentioned as being on a list of the "world's most endangered places" in the billboard. 
  • In the open to segment A, Rick says 67 heritage places "have just been added" to the WMP Watch List.  The segment A guest, Erica Avramo, then details how recent conflicts and natural disasters are threatening heritage sites at various places around the world. 
  • Erica explains how unmanaged cruise ship tourism is impacting Venice, starting at 12:15.  She notes a 500% increase in cruise ship tourism in the past five years overwhelming the city. 
  • At 13:48, Rick tells Erica he was "just in Palestine."
  • Rick says in segment B that Ed Viesturs has made it to the top of Mt. Everest seven times.  Rick and Ed Viesturs discuss congestion among climbing parties to the top of Mt. Everest, starting at 29:51. 
  • Rick notes that Ed is 54 years old at 36:20 when he asks about being a 50+ mountain climber. 
  • Russ Rymer mentions at 52:14 that a language dies, somewhere in the world, every few days, and confirms Rick's statement that linguists expect half of the world's languages to disappear within the 21st century.