If you’re sitting around with nothing to do on a Thursday morning but wouldn’t mind meeting a living legend, head for Cougar Mountain to meet Jim Whittaker.
Whittaker will join King County Executive Dow Constantine at noon to mark the dedication of two trails in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, in honor of Whittaker and climbing partner Sherpa Nawang Gombu in this year of the 50th anniversary of their historic ascent of Mount Everest.
Whittaker, a Seattle native, became the first American to summit the planet’s highest mountain. It was also Gombu’s first ascent of Everest. A few years later he became the first person to climb Everest a second time.
In honor of the two climbers, the Wilderness Creek Trail and the Wilderness Peak Trail will now together be known as the Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trail, totaling 1.9 miles. The 1.3-mile Wilderness Cliffs Trail will be renamed the Nawang Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail.
The ceremony will be at noon Thursday at the Wilderness Peak Trailhead at 10245 Renton-Issaquah Road S.E., Issaquah.
If you don’t make the ceremony, find a sunbreak and go hike the trails in honor of two worthy outdoorsmen. While you’re at it, read up on the legend that is Whittaker (click here).