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EverestHistory.com: Barry Bishop


1963 was a year of towering highs and sinking lows for America. That year saw the assassination of a president, the first black man to win an Oscar, the deaths of poet Robert Frost and singer Patsy Cline, the invention of the skateboard and the first American climbers to summit Everest.

In May of 1963 Barry Bishop took part in a National Geographic sponsored expedition as a photographer and was the first Ohioan to summit Everest. He ascended with his ropemate Lute Jerstad and climbers Will Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein (who climbed separately via the West Ridge route). 

Bishop took a famous photograph of Jerstad near the summit with the American flag visible. This spot would later become known as Barry Bishop rock and later still as Barry Bishop ledge.

After meeting up with Unsoeld and Hornbein the expedition descended together. At one point in their descent Bishop and Jerstad fell into a crevasse but miraculously were rescued without injury though frostbite would claim all Bishopís toes and the tips of his little fingers. In July of 1963 John F. Kennedy presented the team with the National Geographic Society's highest honor, the Hubbard Medal. Bishop went on to earn a Ph D. in geography and worked as a photographer, writer and educator for Nation Geographic until his retirement in 1994.

Barry Bishop passed away in an auto accident later that same year. Also that year his son Brent followed in his fatherís footsteps and made them the first father and son to summit Everest.




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