VIDEOS: Lou Whittaker speaks to 110 at alma mater West Seattle High School

June 9th, 2014

[This 46-minute video covers Lou Whittaker’s presentation, courtesy of contributor Mark Jaroslaw of Avenue Productions.]

 

West Seattle native Lou Whittaker credited his hometown’s physical beauty and ruggedness and strong sense of community for his successful career as a mountaineer and guide during a two-hour presentation Monday evening, May 19, at his alma mater, West Seattle High School.

Whittaker, 85, spoke to a crowd of 110 gathered in the school’s theater. The event was a fundraiser for our historical society.

Lou Whittaker pauses before taking the stage at the West Seattle High School Theater. (Photo by Lisseth Guel)

Lou Whittaker pauses before taking the stage at the West Seattle High School Theater. (Photo by Lisseth Guel)

In a speech and question-answer session that bracketed the showing of a 52-minute 2013 documentary “A Life in the Mountains,” Whittaker told fond stories about his (and his twin brother Jim’s) long uphill walks in their boyhood neighborhood of Fauntleroy, along with his scaling of the human-made Schurman Rock in Camp Long and his Boy Scout experiences in West Seattle.

Lou Whittaker signs books following his presentation. (Photo by Lisseth Guel)

Lou Whittaker signs books following his presentation. (Photo by Lisseth Guel)

Whittaker described the intricacies of building a team of climbers, based on his ascents of Mount Everest and his favorite peak, Mount Rainier (he lives nearby in the town of Ashford during spring and summer months).

He also encouraged adults in the audience, and their children, to make “health deposits” by walking and bicycling, the same as people make deposits of money in a bank.

North Seattle resident Laszlo Pal, Emmy Award-winning director of “A Life in the Mountains,” also attended and spoke about the production.

Following the presentation, Whittaker autographed copies of his book, Memoirs of a Mountain Guide, and of the DVD of the documentary for those who purchased them. A portion of proceeds from the book and DVD sales went to our historical society.

Big thanks to the volunteers who made it possible for us to put on such a warmly received event:

Bethany Green, volunteer coordinator.

Kelly and Brian Hight, who filmed a promotional video and designed the event flier.

Lisseth Guel, South Seattle College student who photographed the event.

Mark Jaroslaw, contributing videographer.

Ann Anderson, Deanna Armstrong, Frances Gifford, Inez Lindsey, Nancy McPhee and Floie Vane, who greeted and guided attendees and processed donations.

We deeply appreciate the audiovisual guidance of West Seattle High School students Tony Ventimiglia and Connor Grisset.

In addition, we are grateful to our media sponsor, Robinson Newspapers, publisher of Westside Weekly, an amalgamation of the West Seattle Herald, Ballard News-Tribune and Highline Times/Des Moines News.

And the biggest thanks of all go to Lou and his wife, Ingrid, for undertaking this event out of the goodness of their hearts!