Lou Whittaker began climbing mountains with twin brother Jim as a way for the pair to battle asthma. His list of climbing accomplishments is impressive, starting in 1963 with a three-day ascent of Mount McKinley in Alaska and including a 1965 winter climb of Mt. Fuji. In 1975 he was a member of an American team attempting to climb K2, the world’s second tallest peak. In 1984, two years after an unsuccessful attempt, Lou led the first American team to summit Mt. Everest by climbing the mountain’s north wall. One year later, his climbing expertise was crucial in reaching many intact burial sites on a 1,000-foot cliff face in the Peruvian Andes. In the spring of 1989 and going by way of the North Wall, Lou led the first successful ascent by an American team to the top of Mt. Kangchenjunga in Nepal, the world’s third-tallest mountain. Six Americans reached the summit that day. Lou has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and many peaks in Europe with his wife Ingrid, who is from Munich, Germany. They have also trekked in Nepal and Bhutan. Lou was born in Seattle in 1929, graduated from West Seattle High School in 1947. He and Jim had Basketball scholarships to Seattle University. They graduated in 1952. Lou and brother Jim started guiding for the Rainier National Park Company in 1951, but in 1952 they were drafted into the Army following their college graduation. He incorporated his company, Rainier Mountaineering Inc., in 1968. It is the largest guide service and climbing school in the United States. Lou was the Chief Guide on Mount Rainier for over 30 years. With the Army, Lou was an instructor at the Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command. He is now an honorary member of the 10th Mountain Division, an elite mountaineering corps of the U.S. Army. Lou is a charter member of the Mountain Rescue Council and was one of youngest members of the National Ski Patrol. In 1994 Lou gathered his memories into his first book: “Lou Whittaker, Memoirs of a Mountain Guide” Lou and Ingrid live in Ashford, at the entrance to Mt. Rainier in an underground passive solar house they built with their own hands. Lou has also restored the old loggers bunkhouse in Ashford and made it into a very successful Motel and Espresso shop popular with climbers on the way to Mt. Rainier. He recently added an annex by rescuing a building from Longmire and turning it into guest rooms.