Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay First climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest
“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated."
On the 29th May, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay completed a remarkable achievement by becoming the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest – Earth’s highest mountain.
Mount Everest is a harsh, cold, unforgiving place and many people have perished trying to reach its summit. It stands at 29,029 feet above sea level and over 40 bodies remain frozen there as a constant reminder of its arduous conditions.
Hillary, a mountaineer and explorer, and Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa Guide, battled through altitude sickness, harsh winds and freezing temperatures to reach the top. The air gets thinner the higher you climb towards the summit, so they used oxygen tanks to help them breathe.
Following their success, Sir Edmund Hillary was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE). Norgay Tenzing was awarded the George Medal, which recognises brave deeds. Both men always maintained that they both reached the summit at the same time – however Norgay later revealed Hillary was several steps ahead. This a fine example of comradery – can you think of ways to be a good comrade?
Resources of further interest:
- The Ascent of Everest by John Hunt