West Seattle High School
Class of 1947
Lou Whittaker began his mountaineering career as a teenager in the Pacific Northwest, climbing in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains with his twin brother. He was a climber extraordinaire here in the Pacific and around the world. He grew up in the Fauntleroy neighborhood and has made his name famous and forever connected to pioneering mountain climbing. Lou scaled the summit of 14,411 foot Mt Rainier 250 times. Lou has been an inspiration for more than a couple of generations of mountain climbers. He has guided more climbers to the summit of Mt Rainier than anyone else.
Lou Whittaker has conquered many of the world’s highest peaks. He was first American to ascend the North Col of Mount Everest in 1984. The North Col, according to Wikipedia, refers to the “sharp-edged pass carved by glaciers in the ridge connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet” making to the 27,000 foot summit.
Lou has guided thousands to the summit of Mt Rainier since his first ascent to the summit at age nineteen. In 1969 he partnered with Jerry Lynch and founded Rainier Mountaineering, Inc (RMI) which helped teach mountain guiding. This provides climbers not only with experience guides but guides who teach the climbers and encourage their success.
Lou loved the mountains and transformed his love into the sport of climbing. He has led expeditions to Mt Everest, Kanagchenjunga, and up K2. At age 79 Lou stopped climbing due to painful knees. Several years later he received 2 new knees and was back hiking and skiing.
He is a world renowned mountain guide and author. Lou Whittaker is an icon among climbers the world over.