The Olympia Hiking and Outdoor Recreation Group Message Board › 5/22/13 - 50th Anniversary of West Ridge climb today!
May 22, 2013
Today is the 50th Anniversary of climbing the West Ridge of Mt Everest. On this day fifty years ago Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld successfully made the first and only ascent of the West Ridge. They were forced to bivouac on the summit of Mt. Everest without tents, sleeping bags or any provisions. It was a windless night and they miraculously survived. Windless nights at 8000 meters are extremely rare. The details of their climb make for one of the great mountaineering stories of the 20th century.
This was part of the first American Expedition on Mt Everest in 1963 sponsored by National Geographic. In 1964, I was just a young lad and I watched the documentary film unfold on my black & white television. It sparked an interest in wilderness to a boy born in New York City. After high school I chose Evergreen State College in order to meet Willi Unsoeld who was a founding member of the college.
Here is a link to a wonderful multi-media article published by Outside magazine. You can listen to an audio file or just read the text. There are several videos peppered throughout the article including a short interview with former Congresswomen Jolene Unsoeld.