Everest: A Symbol of Peace and Hope - Sept 17

Read about the global political impact of the 1990 Everest Peace climb from none-other than climb leader and lifetime Mountaineer Jim Whittaker. Join us September 17 to celebrate this ground-breaking anniversary.
Dianne Roberts Dianne Roberts
September 14, 2015

In the spring of 1990 - when the US, China, and Soviet Union were Cold War enemies and real war seemed imminent -  I organized and led the Mount Everest International Peace Climb. Despite language barriers, foul weather, equipment failures, and illness, our expedition of mountaineers from enemy countries reached the summit and changed the conversation from one of war to one of peace. With so much tragedy and death on Everest the past couple of years - especially  on the Tibetan side of Mt. Everest where we climbed -  I want to share why I still see Everest as a symbol of hope

A Presidential Response

In 1990, we proved that tremendous heights can be reached by working together in cooperation and friendship toward a common goal. Over a four day period, 20 climbers from our team reached the peak—an achievement Guinness Book of Records termed “the most successful climb in Everest’s history.”

Presidents (H.W.) Bush, Gorbachev and Li Peng each called us once we made it safely back to base camp—we had one of the very first satellite phones! They sent congratulations and said that working on behalf of world peace and a clean environment was the most important thing we would ever do. 

“I admire the incredible courage and persistence of Jim Whittaker to bring mountaineers together to make a powerful statement for peace,” said Wang Shi, Chairman of China’s Vanke Corporation. “As China’s largest developer and leader in green building, Vanke brought together a group of Chinese companies to support this cause because we feel the duty of global citizenry to pursue peace and sustainability. This could not be a better message—to call on urgent actions around the world to respond to climate change together.”

A Reunion of Peace

This Peace Climb team aimed to send a powerful message to world leaders that countries must work together to solve world problems. The political landscape is quite a bit different today than it was in 1990, yet the challenges we face together are still the same.  

Mountains have a way of bonding you for life, and despite our differences, our expedition was no different. The relationships I formed with my fellow climbers on the mountain have continued well past our summit day. Together we are all still passionate about peaceful cooperation, and want to continue our work together for a better tomorrow. The earth is warming and the drums of war still beat, but people all over still want a safe and clean planet for their children and their grandchildren.

To mark the 25-year anniversary of the Peace Climb, we’ve invited the leaders of our countries to join us for a talk to the team on Mt. Rainier — just as they spoke to us on Mt. Everest in 1990. 

We are also inviting the public to join us on Thursday, September 17 at 7pm, at The Mountaineers Program Center, to meet members of the team, thank our international supporters, and see a slideshow of this historic climb. I'll share a personal slide show, and you'll see other Peace Climb team members' accounts of this fateful climb. We'll also show a feature film presentation of Three Flags Over Everest. 

A special Q & A will follow the slideshow. 

Attend the Public Celebration

Date: September 17, 2015
Time:  7-9pm 
Place: The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center 
Ticket price: $20  adults, $10 students/children.

Advanced purchase is encouraged as seating is limited. All proceeds will benefit The Mountaineers conservation and youth programs.



The Peace Climb Celebration and Reunion is sponsored by: REI, BGI, Yongjin, Toread, Kingdee, World Union, The Mountaineers, Vanke, Breitling, and the Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation. Supporters include: the Port of Seattle, the Washington State China Relations Council, and the Russian Consul General Andrey Yushmanov.


Editors Note: Additional information about Jim Whittaker and the Mount Everest International Peace Climb 1990 can be found in Jim Whittaker’s book, A Life on the Edge, Memoirs of Everest and Beyond, or at  Jim Whittaker.com.  To request an excerpt from the book or a digital copy, or arrange an interview with Jim Whittaker or other team members, please contact: Dianne Roberts at Dianne@JimWhittaker.com or 360-531-1235.