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Lindsay Peyton
Mountaineer Jim Whittaker speaks at ribbon-cutting ceremony for apartment complex named in his honor in West Seattle.

Mountaineer Jim Whittaker speaks at ribbon-cutting ceremony for apartment complex named in his honor

By Lindsay Peyton

Among members of the community, business leaders and non-profit representatives assembled on Thursday, Dec. 8 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Whittaker, a luxury apartment on 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, was one especially special guest.

Mountaineer Jim Whittaker, 87, was the first American to summit Mount Everest – and erected a U.S. flag on the top. He was also the first full-time employee of REI – and held the title of CEO for the company throughout the 1960s. He’s from West Seattle, a graduate of West Seattle High School -- and the namesake of the luxury apartment complex.

Whittaker climbed up a few steps in the main entry of the south building to address the crowd.

“This is home,” he said. “I used to walk from Fauntleroy to Arbor Heights for lunch. I’m sure that’s where I began to develop my lung capacity.”

Whittaker said the apartments were built to fill a need for the area – with so many new people moving in and searching for residences.

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