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One of Americas most respected climbers for more than four
decades, Lou Whittaker began his mountaineering career as a
teenager in the Pacific Northwest, climbing insatiably in the
Olympic and Cascade Mountains with his twin brother, Jim. He
stepped naturally into coveted spots on expeditions to
formidable peaks in Alaska, the Himalaya and the Karakorum, and
went on to lead the expedition that made the first American
ascent of the North Col on Everest in 1984. To north westerners,
Lou’s name is synonymous with Mount Rainier, where he has
guided thousands to its summit since his own first ascent of the
mountain at age nineteen.

In these memoirs*, Lou Whittaker’s tales of life as a young
mountain rescuer, and later as a climbing mentor to others, are
filled with his trademark humor, boundless energy and
compassion. He recalls climbs with family, friends, and a host of
fellow mountaineers, including Jim Wickmire, Peter Schoening,
John Roskelly, Joe Kennedy JR., Peter Whittaker and Willi
Unsoeld. The thrilling challenges of mountains such as K2,
Kanchenjunga, and McKinley are also remembered. Especially
poignant are his memories of Marty Hoey, a promising young
climber who died on the 1982 expedition to Everest. Evident and
inspiring throughout these stories are his love for climbing and
for life, even amidst such losses.

Lou’s philosophy is simple: “When it comes to dying,” he says, “I
want to know what it is like to have really lived.”

*An introduction from the book
"Lou Whittaker: Memoirs of a
Mountain Guide" by Lou Whittaker and Andrea Gabbaro.