There have been American father-son duos to climb Mt. Everest before, notably Barry Bishop and Brent Bishop, and John Roskelley and Jess Roskelley. But only the Whittaker family can now claim three blood relatives to have reached the top: Jim Whittaker, the first American to climb the peak, in 1963, his nephew, Peter Whittaker, who climbed Everest last year, and now Jim’s own son, Leif, who climbed Everest yesterday with Dave Hahn. Not surprisingly, Jim Whittaker is very happy.
“I’m delighted and happy and so proud of Leif,” said Jim Whittaker from his home on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. "He’s been climbing since he was a little boy, and this was always a goal of his, he set his sights on it.
On Whittaker’s 1963 climb, the expedition put in six camps, not the traditional four used today, including one at 27,500 feet, near the South Summit. ”A lot has changed since those days,” Whittaker, now 81, added. “This is a very big day for me. Diane and I are so proud of Leif. We talked to him on his way down from the summit. What a contrast that is from 1963, when it took our runner eight days to cover the distance between Base Camp and Kathmandu, that was the fastest means of communication.”