El Capitan Climber George Whitmore Dies at 89 After COVID-19 Complications — Inside His Legacy

George Whitmore, an EI Capitan climber, recently passed away at the age of 89. The star sadly died after struggling with complications related to the novel coronavirus disease.

George Whitmore passed away on New Year’s Day from COVID-19 complications, according to his wife Nancy, 76. His widow revealed that her husband had taken all the precautions he could to prevent infection.

He made sure he wore a face mask and his family isn’t sure where he contracted it. Whitmore tested positive for the virus on December 13, 2020, after he developed a cough and later a fever.

A waterfall and EI Captain view at Yosemite National Park in California | Photo: Shutterstock/Kit Leong

A waterfall and EI Captain view at Yosemite National Park in California | Photo: Shutterstock/Kit Leong

The mountain climber, who also battled and beat cancer, died at a rehabilitation facility in Fresno from damage to his lungs. At the time, he had been released from the hospital, according to his wife.

He was well-known for being a member of the first team of rock climbers to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Whitmore was also a conservationist who was devoted to protecting the Sierra Nevada.

His death has been mourned by his family, friends, and fellow climbers. He was the last surviving member of the three men who were the first to reach the top of El Capitan on November 12, 1958.

At the time, it was a feat that had been declared humanly impossible. His fellow climbers Warren Harding and Wayne Merry passed away in 2002 and last year, respectively.  

Whitmore and Merry got together in 2008. The pair gathered with other climbers from around the world at Yosemite to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their ascent. The three men took 47 days over 16 months to complete the climb.

Mountain climbing had been a lifelong passion for the late athlete although he did consider his conservation work as his greatest accomplishment. He was actually a pharmacist by trade.

In the 1970s, he retired so he could focus on conservation. Besides being involved with the Sierra Club, he also served as a chairman of the Tehipite Chapter which was based in Fresno.

During a Sierra Club outing in the 1970s, he met his future wife. She was impressed by his knowledge and intellect and the pair eventually got married in 1979, and she was with him for 41 years.

In 1976, Whitmore helped found the Kaiser Wilderness and in 1984 he helped establish the California Wilderness Act. Part of his work saw him protecting lakes and to block dam projects.

He was also instrumental in preventing The Walt Disney Company from developing a ski resort at Mineral King in the 1960s and 1970s. He did this with the Sierra Club and other preservationists.

Another celebrity who passed away this month is actress Tanya Roberts. She died on January 4, 2021, at a hospital, after being put on a ventilator when she collapsed at her home on Christmas Eve after walking her dogs.

Dawn Wells is an actress who also died at age 82 from COVID-19 complications on December 29, 2020. She was famous for acting on “Gilligan's Island” as Mary Ann Summers from 1964 to 1967.

ⓘ We at AmoMama do our best to give you the most updated news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, but the situation is constantly changing. We encourage readers to refer to the online updates from CDС, WHO, or Local Health Departments to stay updated. Take care!

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