50 Years of Americans on Mt. Everest

On May 1st, 1963, Jim Whittaker became the first American to climb to the top of Mt. Everest. Today marks its 50th anniversary where Americans and climbers abound revere such an awesome human feat. While climbing the original ascent, Whittaker was outfitted in the iconic outdoor brand Eddie Bauer and in honor of such a glorious day, the brand celebrates the 50th Anniversary through its own technical label, First Ascent and in a commendable climb back in 2012.

Jim Whittaker


“In 1963 Jim Whittaker, in partnership with Sherpa Nawang Gombu, became the first American to climb to the roof of the world and summit Mt. Everest. He did it outfitted in Eddie Bauer down. On that same American Mount Everest Expedition, Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld completed the first successful ascent of the challenging West Ridge route, which remains one of the greatest achievements in the history of mountaineering.

To celebrate of the 50th anniversary of these triumphs, Eddie Bauer returned to Mt. Everest in 2012 with two teams of world-class, high-altitude climbers, an entire line of award-winning, guide-built First Ascent gear, and a mission to retrace the steps of the historic American achievements on Mt. Everest. The mountain again revealed its power and proved that, five decades later, Everest still represents adventure in its grandest form.”


Eddie Bauer created the 50th Anniversary Downlight Jacket and a Karakoram Sleeping Bag for this special day. The jacket boasts, waterproof down – a recent, technical feat in the world of outdoor that we’ve been following for the past two years. Quite exciting and fitting for the most enduring and life-altering climb in the world!

50th Anniversary Downlight Jacket





In addition to Eddie Bauer’s esteemed efforts, the man himself, Jim Whittaker will release a tell-all autobiography this May entitled, A Life On The Edge: Memoirs Of Everest And Beyond. 

The book chronicles: “Whittaker from his time honing his skills as a climbing guide on Mount Rainier and as a member of Olympic Mountain Rescue, through his triumphs and defeats as REI’s President and CEO, through his laughs and losses as close friend and confidante to Kennedy’s, to organizing a Mount Everest International Peace climb uniting China, Russia and America. Jim Whittaker is inspirational American history — with a pick axe.”


This is a big day for the Active Community and we couldn’t be happier! Congrats to Jim and his tenacious bravado!

-Jessica Kaplan


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