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Jim Whittaker - A Life on the Edge
This book naturally repeats material found in whittaker-1994. The books differ on some facts. This book includes more chronological detail than the other.

p. 21: Twins Jim and Lou Whittaker were born on February 10, 1929. They entered the Boy Scouts at age twelve and joined The Mountaineers in their mid-teens.

p. 28: During the winter of 1945 the twins signed up for a winter climb of Mt Margaret on skis. The trip was led by Sam [Ralph] Eskenazi. Eskenazi fled Germany before the war and was a superb skier. [Note: In personal communication on 6/22/2004, Ralph said he was born in the U.S., not Germany.] The author describes his struggle to descend the mountain in deep snow, having mastered only the snowplow turn on hard-packed slopes. Following this experience, the author joined the Snoqualmie Pass ski patrol to learn the finer points of downhill skiing. Later he worked for the ski patrol at Stevens Pass (p. 53).

p. 31: The author's early mentors included Lloyd Anderson, Tom Campbell, Sam Eskenazi, Wolf Bauer, Ome Daiber, Max Eckenburg, Lyle St. Louis and Otto Trott.

p. 36: In 1948, Jim and Lou Whittaker became charter members of the Mountain Rescue Council. They were already members of the National Ski Patrol by then. In 1950, the twins began guiding for Bil Dunaway on Mt Rainier. The author describes early experiences in guiding and mountain rescue, including the May 19, 1952, recovery of Art Jessett's body on Mt Saint Helens, following an unroped crevasse fall (p. 46).

p. 56: In 1952, the Whittaker twins graduated from Seattle University and received draft notices to serve in the army in Korea. With help from Scott Osborn and Lt. Colonel Ed Link, they were transferred to the Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command at Camp Hale, Colorado. On p. 59 is a photo of Camp Hale ski troopers, including the Whittaker twins, clad in whites at Tennessee Pass in 1953. The author was released from the army in 1954 and returned to guiding on Mt Rainier.

p. 63: In 1954, Lloyd Anderson, founder of Seattle's outdoor equipment Co-op, asked Jim Whittaker to manage the operation. The author left his job at Osborn and Ulland and started working at The Co-op in July 1955. In the fall of that year he started a ski department. He stayed with the company, soon renamed Recreational Equipment, Inc., as store manager and later company president for nearly twenty-five years.

Later chapters of the book describe the 1960 speed climb (and rescue) on Mt McKinley with John Day, the 1963 Mt Everest expedition, climbing with the Kennedys, the 1975 and 1978 K2 expeditions, the 1981 Pelion ascent of Mt Rainier, leaving REI and the subsequent failure of a new business, the 1990 Mt Everest Peace Climb, and other aspects of the author's life.

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Last Updated: Sat Dec 27 15:55:42 PST 2003