Sunday, May 29, 2016

Everest | May 29th 1953

Tenzing and Hillary after the successful climb at Thyangboche monastery
Today is sixty three years since the first ascent of Everest.

On 29th May 1953 at 11.30 am, a Sherpa and a New Zealander became the first men to stand on top of the highest peak on this planet.  However the intervening years has seen a sea change as far as Everest is concerned. The mountain, enshrined in controversy, has now become a playground for guided expeditions, with clients paying between  twenty five to sixty thousand dollars or more to stand on the highest point on earth. The South Col route climbed in 1953 is now disdainfully referred to as the “yak trail”. The dangerous icefall below the Western Cwm is maintained by a team of sherpas right through the season led by a senior “Icefall Doctor.” In order to make it possible for inexperienced clients to summit Everest, the entire mountain has fixed rope from bottom to top. This year 2016 the first ascent of the mountain was made by a team of nine sherpas from different expeditions who fixed  the rope right to the summit.

2014 and 2015 were both a  "lost season" for Everest due to the great Nepal earthquake which caused an enormous avalanche at Everest Base Camp on 25th April 2015.  In 2014 the loss of sixteen sherpas in the Everest icefall effectively ended the Everest season from the south side.

However, this post recounts through photographs,  the 1953 climb, the historic ascent of the first two men to summit Everest and the team of climbers and sherpas who supported them through this endeavour.

Tenzing and Hillary at Advance Base after the successful climb

Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon at the South Col after coming back from the South Summit on 26th May 1953, a decision which Bourdillon regretted for the rest of his life

Returning from the South Col: Evans, Hillay, Tenzing, Bourdillon and George Band

From left: John Hunt, Hillary, Tenzing and Ang Nyima. Standing : Alfred Gregory and George Lowe at Advanced Base after the return of Tenzing and Hillary from the summit

Telegram sent by Hunt in code which meant "Hillary and Tenzing reached summit on May 29th"

The team of climbers and sherpas at Base  Camp after the successful climb



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