Surviving members of the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition gather in Richmond, CA on February 23

The American Alpine Club will host a dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the successful effort to put the first Americans on Everest. In attendance will be expedition members Allen Auten, Tom Hornbein, and Jim Whittaker all in their eighties, as well as team leader Norman Dyhrenfurth, now in his mid-nineties.

In the words of AAC marketing director Erik Lambert, “On May 1, 1963 Jim Whittaker and Sherpa Nawang Gombu summited Mount Everest. Their ascent stands among the greatest mountaineering feats of all time and secured Whittaker’s place as the first American to summit the highest peak on earth. Their ascent has given inspiration and courage to countless climbers pushing through setbacks to achieve an ultimate goal.

Three weeks later, Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld, part of the same expedition, made the first …