Sixty years ago today a New Zealand man named Edmund Hillary and a Sherpa from Nepal named Tenzing Norgay ascended to the world’s highest and most dangerous peak, Mount Everest.
Since then thousands of men, women, seniors, and a teenager — yes, I said a teenager — have summated Mount Everest. Into the Death Zone and back again. Hundreds have died. Frozen solid in the snow on the infamous mountain. But, none of the climbers who have ascended Mount Everest since May 29, 1953, are as famous as Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. For they were the first.
In honor of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s famous achievement Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended a reception at the Royal Geographical Society in London this evening to commemorate the 60th anniversary Hillary and Norgay’s climb to the top of Mount Everest. Her Majesty and the duke as well as guests watched archival footage about the climb, viewed an exhibition, and met with Mr. Peter Hillary and Mr. Jamling Norgay (sons of Edmund and Tenzing).
Meanwhile in Kathmandu, Nepal, there were also celebrations marking the historical ascent. This morning the President of Nepal, Mr. Ram Baran Yadav, received a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who sent her warmest congratulations:
“On the 60th Anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest I wish to send my warmest regards to the Government of Nepal and re-affirm the strong ties that exist between our two countries. The news of the successful ascent reached me at a particularly memorable time, the day before my Coronation. The Everest Expedition was an historic example of UK-Nepal co-operation and I hope that the special relationship between our two countries will continue to grow in the years to come.”
And, on the summit of Mount Everest and the base camps below, well, all is quiet as the Spring climbing season is coming to a close. The landscape, though beautiful, is unfortunately littered with trash leftover by insensitive climbers. As a result, dozens of courageous Sherpas climb the mountain several times cleaning trash and collecting frozen remains of those who never made it out of the Death Zone.
Tenzing at the top, 1953
Click here to view old photos of photos of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay after their summit.
Archive footage after the climb.
The documentary, Hillary on Everest
Trailer for the documentary, Cleaning Mount Everest
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and Life