First Americans To Reach Summit Of Mt. Everest Reunite

BERKELEY, Calif. (February 23, 2013)—The surviving members of the first American expedition to reach the top of Mt. Everest were in the San Francisco Bay area Saturday for a meeting honoring the 50th anniversary of their achievement.

The American Alpine Club was hosting events over the weekend with four of the men whose historic trek in May 1963 was recognized by President John F. Kennedy and helped popularize mountaineering in the U.S.

Jim Whittaker, 84, of Seattle, who was the first American to summit Everest, says his memories of facing the possibility of death there made him appreciate every day of his life since.

Joining Whittaker for the reunion were expedition organizer Norm Dyhrenfurth, climber Tom Hornbein, who forged a new route up Everest during the trip, and Dave Dingman, the expedition's doctor.

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