258104 They called her "Grandma Whitney:" Remembering the queen of the mountain

Monday, October 29, 2012

William C. Andress, DrPH, MPH, MCHES , Health and Exercise Science Dept., La Sierra University, Riverside, CA
On July 24, 1987, 91-year-old Hulda Crooks (affectionately known as “Grandma Whitney”) from southern California, made worldwide headlines by becoming the oldest woman and oldest American to scale Mt. Fuji, Japan's highest peak. Weeks later she broke her own record as the oldest person to climb 14,497 foot Mt. Whitney, California's tallest, and America's highest peak outside of Alaska. (A quarter century later, these records still stand). What better way to promote the conference theme, “Prevention and Wellness Across the Lifespan,” than to posthumously remember this legend of physical fitness, wellness, and health promotion in the very state where she gained such acclaim and on the 25th anniversary of those achievements. Participants will hear the heart-wrenching story of an obese teenager who got kicked out of her dysfunctional home at eighteen, battled a myriad of debilitating diseases through her 20's and 30's, was widowed in her 50's, and lost her only son to a drug overdose. Through a rigorous and regular physical exercise program she climbed above those tragedies and become an inspiration of hope and healing to millions. That inspiration spread across America to Washington D.C. where a 1991 Congressional Act named a spire along the Whitney Trail in her honor, a tribute rarely conferred on living individuals. Viewers will receive a copy of “Prescription for Health” a small pamphlet that Mrs. Crooks wrote for distribution on her climbs.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. List at least three components of "Grandma Whitney's" personal philosophy of health. 2. Identify at least three things anyone can do to begin improving quality of life, no matter what one's current circumstances. 3. Describe a personal fitness goal that is achievable before the 2013 APHA annual meeting.

Keywords: Adult Health, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 1. I am the only person who accompanied Grandma Whitney (Hulda Crooks) on both of her record setting climbs in 1987. 2. With her niece I co-authored, "Grandma Whitney: Queen of the Mountain," a short biography on her life. 3. Presentation will be based on personal taped interviews, personal photographs, and my personal association with her.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.