Renamed Whittaker trail honors American climbing legend

October 1, 2013

It may not be Mount Everest, but it’s still an honor.

King County Executive Dow Constantine stood with the first American to climb Earth’s tallest mountain to unveil new names for the Wilderness Peak Trail that winds its way up the southeastern side of Cougar Mountain Sept. 26.

Jim Whittaker, a Seattle native, whipped the burlap off the wooden signs that led the way to the new Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trail and the Nawang Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail, named after Whittaker’s Sherpa, who braved all 29,000 feet with him. This year marks the 50th anniversary since the historic ascent. A year later, Gombu climbed to the summit again, becoming the first person to make the trip twice.

On a simple wooden bridge, extending over a calm stream, Tibetan prayer flags flapped as Constantine praised Whittaker and Gombu’s bravery.

By Peter Clark Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

By Peter Clark
Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

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