Gear Junkie Examines Everest Climbing Gear – From 50 Years Ago!


The Gear Junkie is one of those sites that is constantly tempting us with the latest and greatest gear, making us drool over the best new outdoor products and inspiring lust at the highest level. It isn’t often that we get a post from the GJ staff that actually makes us happy about the gear that we actually own. That just might be the case with a new article that takes a look at the gear used on Everest 50 years ago when Jim Whittaker became the first American to stand on the summit and Tom Horbein and Willi Unsoeld made the first ascent of the West Ridge.

The post includes a series of excellent photos of the vintage gear used on those early expeditions to the Himalaya. Some of the items don’t look that much different from gear that is used by modern climbers today, while other items look down-right prehistoric. The mountaineering suit in particular is clearly a predecessor for modern gear, including styling and bright colors.

The amazing images aren’t just confined to the gear however, as there are also shots from the 1963 expeditions as well. These photos show the climbers crossing open crevasses using a log, as opposed to the ladders that are so common today, and shots of the team moving up the mountain. For 50 year old images, they look remarkable, giving us a clear look at mountaineerings past.

All of the images are part of an American Alpine Club celebration of the 50th anniversary of the West Ridge ascent. That celebration will extend to the AAC’s annual benefit dinner, which is scheduled to take place in San Francisco in a few weeks time. Perfect timing for the start of a new Everest season, which is closer than we think.

Kraig Becker