Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. Turns 40

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RMI has grown into a global guiding powerhouse

2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI), the largest mountain guiding company in the United States. Co-founded by Lou Whitaker in 1969, RMI has become the training ground for many of the most accomplished climbers in the world today. In addition to Mt. Rainier, the company offers guided trips to destinations around the world.

With over 65 highly trained guides with extensive expedition experience guiding around the world, Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. offers many trips every year.

Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Lou Whittaker started climbing at the age of 12 with his twin brother Jim and by the time he was 18 had climbed all the major peaks in the state. At 19 he began guiding on Mt. Rainier and in 1969 created RMI to meet the growing need for experienced guides to lead people up the beautiful and challenging slopes of nearby Mt. Rainier. Lou's brother Jim went on to become the first American to summit Mt. Everest in 1963.

Continuing in the family tradition, Lou's son Peter Whitaker stepped up to run the business in 1999. Over the last 10 years Peter has expanded RMI from being the premiere guiding service on Mt. Rainier to an international operation offering climbing trips to destinations all over the world. An accomplished climber in his own right, Peter was the host of "Trailside: Make Your Own Adventure", an Emmy-nominated outdoor adventure series on National Public Television. Mt. Rainier is the perfect training ground for mountaineers as it has the full range of climbing and weather conditions that you might encounter anywhere in the world. In fact Jim Whittaker attributes his success in the Himalayas to the training he did on Mt. Rainier. "We attract climbers from all over the US who want to train for other mountains and we offer a comprehensive skills training program," Peter says. "Because of our location and our climbing legacy, we have been fortunate to attract the highest quality guides, who have in turn helped us build a loyal client base." Some of their climbing luminaries include Ed Viesturs, the first American to have climbed all fourteen 8000m peaks without oxygen, and Dave Hahn who has climbed Everest 10 times, more than any other non-Sherpa.

Jeff Martin, Operations Manager, says that 2009 will be an important milestone year for the company. "In addition to our tried and true programs we are very excited to announce our collaboration with Eddie Bauer in their launch of a new line of guide-developed outerwear and gear called First Ascent."

"We've assembled the dream team to design and build the most significant new line of mountaineering gear in a generation," says Neil Fiske, President and CEO of Eddie Bauer. "It doesn't get any better than Whittaker, Viesturs, Hahn and team."

As part of their year long 40th Anniversary celebration the company is planning special promotions including trips, merchandise and contests. More information can be found at the website. RMI looks forward to continuing to offer trips of the safest and highest quality. Visit http://www.rmiguides.com to plan your next adventure.

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) was founded by renowned climber Lou Whittaker and his partners in 1969. Based in Ashford, Washington, on the slopes of Rainier, it is the largest professional mountain-guide service in the United States. RMI leads climbing expeditions all over the world, teaching the safe exploration of high mountains and a deep appreciation for the need to preserve our fragile alpine environments. Whittaker Mountaineering, also in Ashford, is the retail arm of the business, providing clients and other climbing enthusiasts with complete outfitting for outdoor adventures. Visit http://www.rmiguides.com for more information.

Contact:
Jeff Martin or Alex Van Steen
c/- RMI
(888) 892-5462
info (at) rmiguides (dot) com

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