Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog Teens Improve Trails Renamed for Jim Whittaker, Nawang Gombu
link

Teens Improve Trails Renamed for Jim Whittaker, Nawang Gombu

Posted by Loren Drummond at Oct 15, 2013 03:00 PM |
Filed under: ,

King County recently renamed two trails on Cougar Mountain in honor of Jim Whittaker and the late Nawang Gombu. Together, the newly named trails form a 3.2-mile loop. The very next day, WTA youth volunteer crews were working to improve the trails for hikers in years to come.

King County recently renamed two trails on Cougar Mountain in honor of Jim Whittaker and the late Nawang Gombu. Together, the newly named trails form a 3.2-mile loop. The very next day, WTA youth volunteer crews were working to improve the trails for hikers in years to come.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Whittaker-Gombu ascent of Mount Everest, when Whittaker, a Seattle native, became the first American to summit Earth’s highest mountain. It was also Gombu’s first ascent of Everest.

"It was cool to see this lifelong friendship come home and be honored in the naming of these two trails," said Alan Carter Mortimer, WTA's Field Programs Manager. Mortimer and Youth Programs Coordinator Andrea Martin attended the ceremony and then, while scouting the trail, later ran into Whittaker and his wife as they hiked the route.

"Let's have no child left inside"

Whittaker's last words at the ceremony emphasized the importance of getting kids out in the wilderness.

“Let’s create a beautiful world,” he said. “And let’s have no child left inside.”

As it turns out, an unflappable crew of teens under the direction of Martin hit the trail the following two days, volunteering with WTA to complete the work scouted the day of the ceremony.

A crew of teens with the YMCA BOLD program braved two days in the rain over the National Public Lands Day weekend to maintain the popular trails. The students improved the trail tread, transplanted ferns, and dodged dozens of trail runners out enjoying the trail.

The BOLD teen crew Cougar Mountain
The next generation of outdoor explorers fielded a volunteer crew from the YMCA BOLD program to work on the Cougar Mountain trails. Photo by H. Dexheimer

Explore the trails

The Cougar Mountain trail system is a treasure trove of close-in hiking for the Puget Sound area, some of which is also accessible by public transportation. With low elevations, the trails are excellent all winter long for family strolls, morning hikes with dogs or after-work runs. If you go, be sure to download or take map with you, so you can connect the dots on the many intersecting trails on Cougar Mountain.

The Wilderness Whittaker-Gombu Loop: When you hike the loop, you'll climb beside a creek on the Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trail (which combines the former Wilderness Creek and Wilderness Peak Trails) and then return down to the trailhead using the Nawang Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail:

Comments