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Memoirs of a Mountain Guide Paperback – December 13, 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gabbard is a freelance journalist and has written hundreds of articles on outdoor subjects ranging from mountaineering to river running.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: The Mountaineers Books (December 13, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898864593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898864595
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,710,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I purchased the paperback version of this fine book in the Fall of 1998, and packed it along with me for several nights on a solo backpacking trip through the California Redwoods. The autumn nights in November were long and dark, and Lou Whittaker's book made for some marvelous reading out there, alone in my tent along the trail...read the entire book cover-to-cover by flashlite, and it was a thriller...accompanied by real and imagined sounds that went "thump" in the night! Must admit though, I'm a bit prejudiced, as I had the good fortune of meeting Lou Whittaker in person near the summit of Mount Rainier in 1970, and came to greatly admire the fellow. Reading his new book for the first time was like reuniting with an old friend after a long absence. Definitely a MUST READ for anyone looking for a good book to take with them, along the trail.
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Format: Paperback
As the title says, this is the Memoir of a Mountain Guide. Actually it is the memoir of one of America's first and greatest mountain guides. It is truly a fascinating, well-written story but it is not adventure writing. Do not expect the detail or suspense of John Krakauer, Art Davidson, Heinrich Harrer, or Maurice Herzog. It reads more like sitting down across the table with Lou and having him tell you his story over a couple of beers. This is probably because it is the result of Lou telling his story to Andrea Gabbard who in turn wrote the book.

Lou's story is much different than many of the great mountaineers. While he obviously pushed himself to the top of some of the world's tallest and most difficult peaks, since his near fall on Mount Index in Washington he remained a more conservative climber not willing to trade his life for any mountain summit. In fact, he makes the point of saying the last place he wants to die is on a mountain; he wants to die old sitting in his chair watching TV. Also, as expedition leader, he viewed success as putting team members on the summit and this often did not include himself.

In addition to his story, his climbs, and his life as a mountain climber and guide, he gives a detailed description of Mount Rainier and a historical view of how mountain climbing progressed over the years. Probably the best thing of all though, is the look at a person's life who dedicated themselves to following a passion rather than relegating it to a weekend hobby; it was a long career in the making for him, but it shows that we can make our lives what we want if only we have the courage, persistence, and dedication to try.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Lou Whittaker's blunt and simple approach to climbing (and life). As someone who has been an occasional climber in the Pacific NW his experiences were very vivid to me. The ease with which he accomplished climbs on the mountain compared to my own struggles climbing leave me in awe of the man. I also read Jim Wittaker's book recently (published five years after Lou's) and found it interesting, but very similar to Lou's book. I suppose that can't be avoided - their stories are so interwoven.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was in search of a video that was not out on the market about mountain climbing and was disappointed that I couldn't honor his request. But, I found this book and he loved it, so I guess even though I haven't read it, I have to rate it 5-stars. Everything that comes from the Whitaker family is adventurous and interesting.
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Format: Paperback
Recommended reading for all mountaineers. Lou led a very interesting life and lost many friends while pursuing his mountaineering dreams. For me (also a mountaineer), it was a harsh awakening to the high risks of being a mountaineer. The book is also packed with details about climbing on Mt. Rainier. If you are thinking about climbing Rainier, you should read this in your preparations. If you are interested in this book, you may also be interested in TJ Burr's "Rocky Mountain Adventure Collection."
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Format: Paperback
The book is well written. Lou's subtle wit and gift for understatemnent comes through. I particularly enjoyed Lou's unflinching attitude of personal responsibility toward risk and his unwillingness to romanticize danger. Great climbing stories of all kinds interwoven with sage advice on how to stay alive on the mountain. A must read for any aspiring alpinest.
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Format: Paperback
As a middle aged novice mountain climber myself, I found this book a very interesting combination of great mountain climbing short stories and the personal life of a full time mountaineer. If you have any interest of ever climbing Mt. Rainier it is a must read. Mr. Whittaker does a good job of discusssing his every day life as a guide on Rainier as well as relating his more adventurous tails of K2 and Everest. This book also lets the reader meet some of the great names in American and Washington climbing. For someone interested in getting into climbing I found the book to be a good source of information both on the technical and mental aspects of mountaineering. The last item I found appealing was the authors willingness to be open and honest about his lifestyle and mistakes he has made. This made him very human.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Almost as good as climbing the mountains yourself! Lou includes fascinating information and details in an enjoyable, conversational and very personal writing style. His sense of humor is delightful, and his compassion is deeply moving.
A "must read" for anyone who loves the outdoors, especially mountains! Thank you, Lou!
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