Leif grew up near the mossy forests of Olympic National Park in Port Townsend, Washington. He learned about the outdoors from his father, Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mount Everest. Leif found his own love for mountains at age 15 when he and his older brother hiked 20 miles into the wilderness without their parents and climbed Mount Olympus. Since then, he has traveled across the globe and climbed some of the world’s tallest peaks, including Aconcagua, Mount Vinson, Denali, and two ascents of Mount Everest.

For the past decade, Leif has worked as a Climbing Ranger for the United States Forest Service on Mount Baker. He takes pride in helping to preserve a pristine wilderness and keep visitors safe on the glaciers.

Leif is also a professional writer and speaker. His writing has appeared in various media worldwide, including many outdoor magazines and periodicals. His first book, My Old Man and the Mountain, was published by Mountaineers Books in 2016 and won several awards. He has been motivational speaking for more than 11 years and his client list includes household names from business, tech, non-profit and education. He currently resides in Bellingham, Washington with his partner, and their Border-Aussie.