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[pct-l] "Grandma Whitney"

This is interesting........it's clipped from the LA Times website.....
Kevin Corcoran

Wednesday, November 26, 1997 

              Hulda Crooks, 101; Oldest Woman to Scale Mt. Whitney 
              By MYRNA OLIVER, Times Staff Writer
        Hulda Crooks, nicknamed "Grandma Whitney" for her two
                           dozen climbs up 14,495-foot Mt. Whitney between
the ages
                      of 66 and 91, has died. She was 101. 
                           Crooks, the oldest woman to scale Mt. Whitney and
                      12,388-foot Mt. Fuji in Japan, died Sunday at Linda
Valley Villa
                      retirement home in Loma Linda, Calif., where she had
lived for the
                      last six years. 
                           "It's been a great inspiration for me," she told
The Times in
                      1991, four years after her last climb up Mt. Whitney,
the tallest
                      peak in the continental United States. "When I come
down from the
                      mountain, I feel like I can battle in the valley again." 
                           That year, she took a helicopter to the top of
Mt. Whitney for a
                      special ceremony--designation of the second peak to
the south as
                      Crooks Peak. 
                           Legislation to name the mountain for the climber,
sponsored by
                      her friend and climbing companion Rep. Jerry Lewis
                      took five years to win passage because Congress was
reluctant to
                      confer the honor on anyone still living. 
                           Last year, Crooks published her memoirs,
"Conquering Life's
                      Mountains." In 1989, she was featured in a book by Francis
                      Raymond Line titled "Super Seniors: Their Stories and
                           Crooks started hiking as solace after the death
of her husband,
                      Dr. Samuel Crooks, in 1950. She climbed the San Bernardino
                      Mountains' 11,502-foot Mt. Gorgonio about 20 times before
                      challenging Mt. Whitney for the first time in 1962. 
                           Six years later, when she was 72, she started
jogging and
                      running because, she said "it made climbing so much
                           At 82, she ran 1,500 meters in 10 minutes, 58
seconds in the
                      Senior Olympics, setting a world record for the 80 to
85 age group.
                      At 95, she continued to walk two miles a day. 
                           The 5-foot-1, 115-pound phenomenon also
backpacked the
                      212-mile John Muir Trail, hiked to the bottom of the
Grand Canyon
                      and trekked the Sierra 80 miles from west to east. 
                           "Good health doesn't always happen by accident,"
she told The
                      Times in 1978. "Sometimes you have to work at it." 
                           One of 18 children of a Saskatchewan, Canada,
farming couple,
                      young Hulda gorged on meat and candy and by age 16 weighed
                      160 pounds. 
                           Shortly before she turned 18, however, she left
the farm,
                      became a Seventh-day Adventist and adopted the religion's
                      ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet. 
                           The weight came off as she worked and went to
school at
                      Pacific Union College north of San Francisco and Loma
                      University. But the work and study combination damaged her
                      health, and she was 31 by the time she completed her
degree in
                           She married Dr. Crooks, who taught anatomy at
Loma Linda
                      University, where she became a researcher. Despite his
                      condition, Crooks took his wife camping and continually
                      encouraged her to study and enjoy the outdoors. 
                           Hiking and climbing helped her endure his death
and that of their
                      only son, Wesley, in 1969 from a drug overdose. She began
                      running by jogging across her backyard. Later, when rain
                      occasionally marred the the Loma Linda University
track, she ran
                      up and down the fire escape. 
                           "Exercise you enjoy does you more good than
exercise that you
                      do because you think that you have to do it," she once
said. "You
                      say, 'I'm going to do this. I have to do it. I'm going
to do it if it kills
                      me.' And maybe it will, if you do it that way." 
                           Crooks credited her longevity not only to
exercise and diet but
                      also to her religious faith. Mountain climbing and
running, she once
                      told a reporter, were her "high-altitude evangelism"
aimed toward
                      inspiring young people. 
                           "Good health is not just a matter of diet or
exercise," she said in
                      1978. "It's a way of life, and I think in my church
affiliation I have
                      found it." 
                           "When you have faith in a supreme power that you
believe is
                      love and kindness and justice and has a care for you,
you're not
                      under tensions that people are that don't know where
they're going
                      or what's going to happen to them," she said. "You
develop a habit
                      of trusting. Whatever comes to you in life, you feel
that it's part of
                      character development. You learn patience, hopefully, and
                      tolerance. I think that to look at things hopefully
and develop a spirit
                      of gratitude is very important." 
                           Crooks is survived by three grandchildren, Bruce
                      Tammie Singer and Scott Hoehn, and two

                        Search the archives of the Los Angeles Times for
similar stories. You will
                      not be charged to look for stories, only to retrieve one. 

                      Copyright Los Angeles Times 

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