Leif and Jim Whittaker on the trail to Mount Everest Base Camp in 2012. (Dave Hahn)

Leif and Jim Whittaker on the trail to Mount Everest Base Camp in 2012. (Dave Hahn)

Father, son to share stories of the mountains

Mt. Everest climbers Jim Whittaker and his son, Leif, will talk of their lives and exploits.

PORT TOWNSEND — Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mount Everest, and his son Leif Whittaker, who twice scaled the same peak, will share their stories with the public during a special presentation.

Jim submitted Mount Everest in 1963, while his son did the same in both 2010 and 2012.

“An Evening with Leif Whittaker and Jim Whittaker” will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.

Entry is by a donation of $10 for adults or $5 for students.

All proceeds benefit the Northwest Maritime Center’s outdoor programs.

Admission is limited to the first 200 attendees.

During their joint presentation, the Whittakers will share what it was like to scale the tallest mountain on Earth and share photographs from the world’s highest peaks.

This is their first public presentation since the release of Leif’s new book, “My Old Man and the Mountain: A Memoir.”

Copies of “My Old Man and the Mountain: A Memoir” and “A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond,” a book by Jim, will be available for purchase after the presentation. Both father and son will sign books and answer questions.

“My Old Man and the Mountain” is a unique coming-of-age tale on the steep slopes of Everest, according to a news release.

In it, Leif shares glimpses of his upbringing and how the pressure to climb started early on.

According to the release: “Readers learn of his first adventures with his family in the Olympic Mountains and on Mount Rainier, his close yet competitive relationship with his brother Joss, his battle with a serious back injury and his efforts to stand apart from his father’s legacy.

“Leif depicts being a recent college grad, still living in his parents’ home and trying to find a purpose in life — digging ditches, building houses, selling T-shirts to tourists — until a chance encounter leads to the opportunity to climb Everest, just as his father had done before him.

“Leif heads to Nepal with all the excitement, irony, boredom and trepidation that are part of high-altitude climbing.

“Well-known guides Dave Hahn and Melissa Arnot figure prominently in his story, as does ‘Big Jim.’”

Leif Whittaker was born in Port Townsend and lives in Bellingham. He is a seasonal climbing ranger on Mount Baker.

For more about Leif, visit at www.leifwhittaker.com.

“A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond” is Jim’s autobiography.

“Beyond the glory of cresting the Everest summit, which he did in 1963, Jim’s autobiography describes his experience of social upheaval in the 1960s and ’70s, an early divorce, family strife, a passionate new love later in life, near-bankruptcy and business triumphs,” according to the news release.

In addition to achieving the first American summit of Everest, Jim was the first full-time employee of Recreational Equipment Inc. and was the company’s CEO until 1978.

In 2012, at the age of 83, Jim attempted to hike to Everest Base Camp and made it to nearly 17,000 feet.

He and his wife, Dianne Roberts, live in Port Townsend.

For more, visit www.nwmaritime.org and www.jimwhittaker.com.

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