Mountainfilm 2010: Peter Whittaker on Rainier

Minds of Mountainfilm- Profiles and Interviews Over the coming months, Outside will be posting interviews with adventurers, environmentalists, filmmakers, and others conducted by Mountainfilm. Many of the icons appearing at this year's festival have been featured in the pages of Outside. For more information on this year's festival, which begins on May 28, please check out Mountainfilm's Web Site.

Peter Whittaker has one of the most impressive resumes in the world of mountaineering. With over 25 years of professional guiding experience, he has ascended Mount Rainier hundreds of times, and led expeditions on every continent of the globe. He co-founded Rainier Mountaineering Inc., the largest mountaineering service in the world. Some say that he was rightfully born into the First Family of American mountaineering – Peter's father Lou and uncle Jim Whittaker are legendary mountaineers.

On top of his exceptional adventure repertoire, he has also managed to host his own television show, and organize an expedition for breast cancer survivors to summit Aconcagua that raised $2.3 million dollars for breast cancer research.

His extensive outdoor experience also means that he has had first hand experience with an ever changing environment, and knows the value of protecting wilderness. We got a chance to catch up with Whittaker in between summits, and this is what he had to say when we asked him about the ties between adventure and sustaining the natural environment.

Mount Rainier.  Then and Now.

I grew up with Mt. Rainier National Park as my backyard.

Peter Whittaker My first memories are of riding up the seasonal Poma lift at Paradise and skiing down. Or of hiking out to the Ice Caves at the Paradise Glacier; and swimming in Reflection Lake nestled at the base of the Tatoosh Range. I was eight years old when I first hiked up the snowfields to Camp Muir (10,080'). It was four years later, at the age of 12, when I stood on the summit for the first time. Since then I’ve climbed Rainier several hundred times and experienced firsthand the changes that have occurred on this great mountain.

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