In 1963, while a large, heavily funded south-side expedition focused its energy on putting the first American on the summit, a small team split off to attempt the daunting first ascent of Everest’s West Ridge. Much of it a steep and discouragingly serrated knife edge, the ridge had yet to be tried and was widely thought to be unclimbable. After several near-lethal incidents, including hurricane-force winds and climbing on fragile shale that fell away like ceramic roof tiles, a pair of Americans, Willie Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein, scrambled alpine style up and over the summit, following a faint set of boot tracks down the Southeast Ridge. The West Ridge would go on to become one of the most fearsome lines on the mountain, with a death rate exceeding 100 percent (more people have died trying than have actually summited via this route). This year, at least three teams are planning a serious West Ridge anniversary climb. Should they all make it, it will be an unprecedented trifecta.