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  • Writer's pictureBarry Kruse

Twin Brothers Who So Inspired That I Named my First-born Son for Them

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

I grew up as the son of a high school teacher and seasonal, summertime park ranger. As a child, I spent every summer at Mt. Rainier National Park. It's one of the tallest, most formidable climbs in the continental United States, and many American teams use it as practice for climbing in the Himalaya.

As a kid, my heroes were the mountain guides; two in particular: Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mt. Everest, and his twin brother, Lou, who owned and ran world-renowned Rainier Mountaineering.

At the national park, we'd occasionally see the Whittakers around the lodge. I'd always thought even back then, "If I ever have a son, I hope to name him Whitaker after these guys."

This is a picture of Whitaker (10 at the time), and Lou Whittaker - who we met by chance at Rainier. (He was very moved with the story, and we had a wonderful chance to chat with him about it, and climbing.)

Charting a Steep Course

I admired the confidence and swagger of these guides, and legendary stories of their exploits.

Lou (92 now) still owns Rainier Mountaineering Inc. along with his son, Peter - a legendary climber in his own right.

I hope to interview the Whittakers and some of their guides soon. Look for the podcast in Spring 2020.

Jim and Lou Whittaker in the early days on Mt. Rainier.

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