Climbing Everest- Great Story
Photograph: Public Domain
It was finally known to have been summited by 1953, but it remained a difficult peak for decades. Despite the effort and attention poured into expeditions, it was only summited by about 200 people by 1987. Everest showed itself to be a difficult place for decades, even for serious attempts by professional climbers and large national expeditions, which were the norm until the commercial era picked up in the 1990s.
By March 2012, Everest had been climbed 5,656 times with 223 deaths. Although lower mountains can be longer or steeper climbs, Everest is so high the jet stream can hit it. Climbers can be faced with winds beyond 320 km/h (200 mph) when the weather shifts. At certain times of the year the jet stream shifts north, providing periods of relative calm at the mountain. Other dangers include blizzards and avalanches.
By 2013, the Himalayan database recorded 6,871 summits by 4,042 different people.
In 1953, a ninth British expedition, led by John Hunt, returned to Nepal. Hunt selected two climbing pairs to attempt to reach the summit. The first pair (Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans) came within 100 m (330 ft) of the summit on 26 May 1953, but turned back after running into oxygen problems. As planned, their work in route finding and breaking trail and their caches of extra oxygen were of great aid to the following pair. Two days later, the expedition made its second and final assault on the summit with its second climbing Everest pair, the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali sherpa climber from Darjeeling, India. They reached the summit at 11:30 am local time on 29 May 1953 via the South Col Route. At the time, both acknowledged it as a team effort by the whole expedition, but Tenzing revealed a few years later that Hillary had put his foot on the summit first. They paused at the summit to take photographs and buried a few sweets and a small cross in the snow before descending.
News of the expedition’s success reached London on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, 2 June. Returning to Kathmandu a few days later, Hunt (a Briton) and Hillary (a New Zealander) discovered that they had been promptly knighted in the Order of the British Empire for the ascent. Tenzing, a Nepali sherpa who was a citizen of India, was granted the George Medal by the UK. Hunt was ultimately made a life peer in Britain, while Hillary became a founding member of the Order of New Zealand. Hillary and Tenzing are also nationally recognised in Nepal, where annual ceremonies in schools and offices celebrate their accomplishment.
The next successful ascent was on 23 May 1956 by Ernst Schmied and Juerg Marmet. This was followed by Dölf Reist and Hans-Rudolf von Gunten on 24 May 1957. Wang Fuzhou, Gonpo and Qu Yinhua of China made the first reported ascent of the peak from the North Ridge on 25 May 1960. The first American to climb Everest, Jim Whittaker, joined by Nawang Gombu, reached the summit on 1 May 1963.