High and Hallowed: Everest 1963

In Spring, 2012, I had a dream come true: I led an expedition to the West Ridge of Everest with great friends and climbers David Morton, Charley Mace, and Brent Bishop. Our goal was to follow the route established by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld in 1963 – a route that, to this day, has never been repeated in its entirety. David and I were also tasked with filming the expedition for a 50th Anniversary film celebrating the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition.

The weather wreaked havoc on us throughout the climbing season, and in the end we didn’t make it very far on the 1963 route (although we made it farther than anyone else trying that season). But, we gathered tons of footage, and interacted with a story that moved us all.

For the next nine months, David and I worked closely with writer, editor, and filmmaker Jim Aikman to create a film celebrating 1963 and the vision, audacity, courage, and climb of Hornbein, Unsoeld. Whittaker, Gombu, Bishop, Jerstad, and all the members of the 1963 expedition. The result is High and Hallowed: Everest 1963, a film presented through the generosity and vision of Eddie Bauer.


High and Hallowed: Everest 1963 is the deeper story of the greatest Himalayan climb in American mountaineering history. Profiling the bold and visionary efforts of the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition, the film examines the sheer commitment, step-by-step struggle and lasting impact of the first American ascent of Mt. Everest and the pioneering first ascent of the West Ridge. Five decades later, High and Hallowed: Everest 1963 journeys back to Everest to discover if the essence of risk, adventure and the unknown that drew the first Americans to the summit still exists on Everest today.

Presented by Eddie Bauer

Directed & Produced by David Morton and Jake Norton

Co-Directed & Edited by Jim Aikman

Music by Lord Huron, Grand Hallway, Jose Gonzalez, Abel Okugawa, Amy Stolzenbach, David Dossett

Trailer Edited by Scott McElroy

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