Life Advice From the First American to Summit Everest

Jim Whittaker reflects on decades of exploring the outdoors.

“It’s in the wild places, in the damp clean air of an ancient forest, on a heaving ocean with unpredictable winds, on a snowy summit at the top of the world that I enter my own personal cathedral, and know where I fit in the vastness of creation,” says Jim Whittaker. On May 1, 1963, Whittaker became the first American to summit Mount Everest. 50 years later he sits down with filmmaker Eric Becker. The short film compiles archival Everest footage and gorgeous landscape cinematography, with the sage advice of the now 83-year-old mountaineer. “Being out on the edge, with everything at risk, is where you learn and grow the most,” says Whittaker. “You gotta have scars!”

The Seattle based filmmaker recently won an Emmy for his documentary portrait of photographer Aaron Huey's work inside the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. For more work from Eric Becker, visit his production company's website We are Shouting.

Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Video

Just In