King County will honor climbing legends Jim Whittaker and Nawang Gombu by renaming trails tomorrow

September 25, 2013

By Staff

NEW — 1 p.m. Sept. 25, 2013

Join King County Executive Dow Constantine and mountaineering legend Jim Whittaker as King County honors Whittaker and climbing partner Sherpa Nawang Gombu for their historic ascent of Mount Everest 50 years ago.

Meet at noon Sept. 26 at the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Wilderness Peak Trailhead, 10245 Renton-Issaquah Road S.E.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Whittaker-Gombu ascent of Mount Everest, when Whittaker, a Seattle native, became the first American to summit Earth’s highest mountain. It was also Gombu’s first ascent of Everest; a few years later, he became the first person to conquer Mount Everest for a second time.

The Wilderness Creek Trail and the Wilderness Peak Trail will together be known as the 1.9-mile Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trail, and the 1.3-mile Wilderness Cliffs Trail will become the Nawang Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail. The Wilderness Creek Trailhead will also be renamed the Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trailhead.

The trails lead to the top of Wilderness Peak in the southeast corner of the park, which at 3,100 acres is the largest park in King County’s system of more than 200 parks.

The trails are among the most highly trafficked and popular in the King County Parks system, with an average of more than 100 hikers a day.

Cougar Mountain is King County Parks’ most popular hiking destination, and serves as a springboard for novice hikers working up to more challenging opportunities within the Cascades and Olympic Mountain ranges.

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