Showing posts with label 1953 expedition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1953 expedition. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2013

The first climb to Everest

It has been decades, from the day when Humans laid their first step on the highest point of earth. It
was a historical movement that marks history of human domination over nature. Edmund Hillary and
Tenzing Norgay were people who made this possible and were part of the British Everest Expedition,
1953, led by Colonel John Hunt. For this expedition Hunt had selected a team of people who were
experienced climbers from all around the British Empire. With specific criteria, Edmund Hillary was
selected as a climber from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, though born a Sherpa was selected for
being native to the Himalayas. More or less, the team was setup with a strategy for laying the historical
step over Mt. Everest. The team also included a filmmaker to document their progress and a writer to
record the details of the expedition.

After months of planning and organizing, the expedition began to climb. On their way up, the team
established nine camps, some of which are still used by climbers’ today. Due to harsh climatic condition
and bad weather only four of the team member would get a chance to make an attempt to reach
the summit. Hunt, the team leader, selected two teams of climbers. The first team consisted of Tom
Bourdillon and Charles Evans and the second team consisted of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
The first team left on May 26, 1953 to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Although the two men made
it up to about 300 feet shy of the summit, the highest any human had yet reached, they were forced
to turn back after bad weather set in as well as a fall and problems with their oxygen tanks. With the
failure of the first team there were less hopes but Edmund and Tenzing were determine to concur
Everest. They had the pressure as well as the motivation to do something which no one had done. The
first step on Everest was not just a dream but a legacy where number of people had already lost their

Nearly at 4 a.m. on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay awoke in camp nine and readied
themselves for their climb. Like always the weather was harsh and due to heavy snow fall things were
frozen solid. Hillary discovered that his boots had frozen and thus spent two hours defrosting them.
Mount Everest has an extreme climate. The summit temperature never rises above freezing or 32° F (0°
C). Its summit temperatures in January average -33° F (-36° C) and can drop to -76° F (-60° C). In July, the
average summit temperature is -2° F (-19° C). In such harsh climate condition it is nearly impossible to
do anything.

With determination and strong will, the two men left camp at 6:30 a.m. Upon their climb, they came
upon one particularly difficult rock face, but Hillary found a way to climb it (The rock face is now
called "Hillary's Step) Stepping up in the harsh climate every step was a hard blow in the face but
determined with the objective of making history. At 11:30 a.m., Hillary and Tenzing reached the summit
of Mount Everest.
“A symmetrical, beautiful snow cone summit,” said Edmund Hillary.

Hillary reached out to shake Tenzing's hand, but Tenzing gave him a hug in return. The two men enjoyed
only 15 minutes at the top of the world because of their low air supply, but they spent their time taking
photographs, taking in the view, placing a food offering (Tenzing), and looking for any sign that the
missing climbers from 1924 had been there before them (they didn't find any).

Edmund Hillary took several photographs of the scenery and of Sherpa Tenzing waving flags
representing Britain, Nepal, the United Nations and India. Tenzing buried some sweets and biscuits
in the snow as a Buddhist offering to the gods. They looked for signs of George Mallory and

Andrew "Sandy" Irvine who had disappeared in 1924 in a similar attempt to conquer Everest, but found

Then they began the slow and tortuous descent to rejoin their team leader Colonel John Hunt further
down the mountain at Camp VI.

When he saw the two men looking so exhausted Col Hunt assumed they had failed to reach the summit
and started planning another attempt.

Prior Hillary and Tenzing successful scaling Mount Everest had long been considered un-climbable due
to innumerable number of failures but Edmund and Tenzing mark the history with their accent. Till date
more than 5,000 people have climbed Everest and 219 have died trying. About 77 percent of those
ascents have been accomplished since 2000. Currently the permit fee of climbing Mt Everest is USD
10,000 and still the craze of Everest has not gone down in fact the human domination nature has grown
so much Nepal ha established itself as a mountaineering country.