A Memoir by Leif Whittaker
March 25, 2017, 7pm
In 1963, the world followed the first American Mount Everest Expedition, and watched as “Big Jim” Whittaker became the first American to stand on top of the world. He returned a hero.
My Old Man and the Mountain, published by Mountaineers Books, is author Leif Whittaker’s engaging and humorous story of what it was like to “grow up Whittaker,” as the youngest son of Jim Whittaker and Dianne Roberts and in an extended family of accomplished climbers.
In this presentation at the Columbia Art Center, Leif will share glimpses of his upbringing and how the pressure to climb started early in his young life. He talk about his first adventures with the family in the Olympic Mountains and on Mount Rainier, his close (yet at times competitive) relationship with his brother Joss, his battle with a serious back injury, and his efforts to stand apart from his father’s legacy. With wry honesty he discusses being a recent college grad, still living in his parents’ home and trying to find purpose in life—digging ditches, building houses, selling t-shirts to tourists—until a chance encounter lead to the opportunity to climb Everest, just like his father did.
This unique coming-of-age tale moves to the steep slopes of Everest and a climbing adventure that lights the imagination and fills an emotional human endeavor with universal meaning.
Leif Whittaker was born in Port Townsend, WA, at the foot of the Olympic Mountains. He reached his first major summit when he was 15 years old, and he has since climbed many of the world’s tall mountains. A writer and photographer, Leif’s work has appeared in Powder, The Ski Journal, and Backcountry. Leif lives in Bellingham, WA, and is a seasonal USFS climbing ranger on Mt. Baker.
Join Leif and Waucoma Bookstore for a book signing in the Lobby after the event. This evening is graciously sponsored by Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom.