Five decades ago, on May 1st, 1963, American Jim Whittaker stepped side by side with Sherpa Nawang Gombu onto the summit of Mount Everest and became the first American to conquer the world’s tallest peak. His achievement was possible due to the tireless efforts of the American Mount Everest Expedition, a half-million dollar undertaking funded by 350 sponsors that required moving 27 tons of food and equipment to base camp with the assistance of 909 porter loads as well as navigating a route through the Khumbu Ice Fall and establishing the high camps.

Led by Norman Dyhrenfurth, the Eddie-Bauer-outfitted expedition was the third ever to successfully place climbers on the summit. The success turned Whittaker into a national celebrity and elevated the stature of all six climbers who reached the summit. Hundreds now summit Everest in a single season and the camps on the mountain are a very different place, but the events of 1963 still resonate deeply throughout climbing culture and still permeate the fabric of our brand.

To revisit the pioneering steps of the AMEE expedition we’ve compiled a never-before-seen gallery from the Bishop archives and original video footage from the first American Expedition to successfully summit Mt. Everest.

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