Cantwell Statement on 50th Anniversary of Jim Whittaker’s Everest Summit

Cantwell: ‘50 years ago today, one man literally stood on top of the world’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement to mark the 50th anniversary of Washington state resident Jim Whittaker becoming the first American to summit Mount Everest. Whittaker, who went on to be outdoor gear company Recreational Equipment Inc.’s (REI) CEO, ascended Mt. Everest on May 1, 1963.                                                                                                               

“50 years ago today, one man literally stood on top of the world,” Cantwell said. “And his picture was virtually splashed across the front page of every newspaper in America.

“It was a great moment in mountain-climbing history and a enormous source of pride for the United States, since he was first American to reach the summit. President Kennedy was right to award Whittaker the national Hubbard Medal for his incredible exploratory achievements.

“We in the Northwest are so proud to remember this moment and to recognize all of Jim's incredible achievements, including going on to lead REI. His tremendous achievements will be remembered for generations to come.”