A Life on the Edge
My father's greatest living heroes were John Glenn and Jim Whittaker - a physical giant with a huge heart, a decent soul, and inspirational courage. We can all be grateful that Whittaker has finally put his extraordinary life on paper. Whittaker's story is a riveting saga of high adventure by one of history's greatest climbers.
—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
In May of 1963 Seattle mountaineer Jim Whittaker stepped into world history by becoming the first American to summit Mount Everest. Fifty years later, he is still regarded as a seminal figure in North American mountaineering, as well as an astute businessman who helped create the outdoor recreation industry.
A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond is Jim's courageous, no-punches-pulled autobiography and a look at a peripatetic, sometimes difficult life. Beyond the glory of the Everest summit and his other extraordinary climbing feats, including the first American summit of K2, he openly describes his personal, "everyman" experience of social upheaval in the 1960s and 70s, an early divorce, family strife, a passionate new love later in life, near-bankruptcy, and business triumphs and losses. Jim tells it all with verve and honesty and, true to his nature, turns every setback into the stage for new adventure.
This special edition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first American ascent of Mt. Everest. It includes a new foreword by Ed Viesturs, more than 100 photos, and a new final chapter that brings readers up-to-date, including details of Jim's trek to Everest Base Camp in 2012 at the age of 83, and his son Leif’s recent successful summits of Everest.