Edmund hillary und tenzing norgay

National geographical revisits the 1953 british summit to Everest wie the zuerst people was standing atop the world"s highest mountain.

Du schaust: Edmund hillary und tenzing norgay

Excerpted from "50 year on Everest," von Contributing Editor david Roberts, national Geographic Adventure, april 2003

By today"s standards, ns 1953 brothers expedition, under the military-style leadership des Sir john Hunt, was massive in the extreme, yet in in oddly bottom-heavy way: 350 porters, 20 Sherpas, und tons des supplies to support a vanguard von only ten climbers. "Our climbers to be all liked as potential summiters," recalls george Band, 73, who was one of the party. Fifty years later, Band"s memory of the project remains undimmed. "The radikale plan was weil das two summit attempts, each über a pair of climbers, with a possible dritter assault if necessary. On together expeditions ns leader tends zu designate die summit pairs quite late during the expedition, when he sees just how everybody is performing." anxiety over who is chosen zum the summit mannschaft would be a hallmark des major Everest expeditions zum decades to come. But never again would ns stakes be quite so high.

By die spring of 1953, ns ascent von the world"s greatest mountain was beginning zu seem inevitable. First attempted an 1921 von the British, Everest had actually repulsed punkt least ten major expeditions und two insane solo attempts. With the 1950 discovery of a southern strategy to die mountain an newly opened Nepal, und the zuerst ascent von the treacherous Khumbu Icefall ns following year, what would come to it is in known von the 1990s as the "yellow brick road" to die summit had been identified.

At zuerst it seemed ns Swiss would certainly claim ns prize. An 1952 a solid Swiss mannschaft that contained legendary alpinist Raymond Lambert had pioneered ns route up the steep Lhotse Face and reached ns South Col. From that high, wide saddle, Lambert und Sherpa Tenzing Norgay then propelled all ns way zu 28,210 feet (8,598 meters) on the Southeast Ridge before transforming back—probably as high as anyone had ever before stood top top Earth.

Now the British were determined kommen sie bring every feasible advantage zu their feather 1953 offensive—including rental Tenzing, 38, as their lead Sherpa, or sirdar. Previously British expeditions, despite impressive in their accomplishments, were frequently charmingly informal in style. Hunt"s intricately to plan assault, on die other hand, was all business. "You gain there fastest with die mostest," observes mountaineering pundit Ken Wilson. "You have a army leader who is totally in tune with that philosophy, and you don"t dink about in an amateur sort von clubby way."

From die start, ns 33-year-old beekeeper Edmund Hillary (not yet sir Edmund) was a strong contender for one des the summit slots. "It was his fourth Himalayan expedition an just over 2 years and he was at the peak of fitness," band says. Die heavily glaciated peaks von his native neu Zealand had actually proved a perfect cultivate ground zum the Himalaya. Hillary earn respect early an the expedition von leading the mannschaft that forced a path through ns Khumbu Icefall. "A sleeves-rolled-up, get-things-done man," Wilson calls him.

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Still, logistical snafus, the failure of a number von stalwarts to acclimatize, und problems through some des the experimental oxygen set stalled ns expedition badly. The team took a troubling 12 days kommen sie retrace the Swiss route on die Lhotse face (in part, perhaps, because the British were not as knowledgeable on complicated ice). Bei despair, hunting began kommen sie wonder whether his splitter linterparty would even reach ns South Col.

The expedition finally gained the col—the vital staging area zum a summit push—on might 21. This was late enough to be worrisome, zum the monsoon, whose heavy snows would certainly prohibit climbing, could arrive as at an early stage as June 1.

Because they became the zuerst men to reach ns summit des Everest, Hillary und Tenzing would certainly earn a celebrity that has scarcely faded in 50 years. Who today remembers tom Bourdillon und Charles Evans? yet Hunt"s setup called zum Bourdillon, a previous president of the Oxford Mountaineering Club, und Evans, a mind surgeon, zu make the erste summit bid.

Despite a fairly late start und problems v Evans"s oxygen set, Bourdillon and Evans crested the South Summit—at 28,700 feet (8,748 meters), just 330 feet (101 meters) short von the top—by 1 p.m. On may 26. But Evans was exhausted, and both men knew they would run out of oxygen if they went on. Castle agreed to turn back. Says michael Westmacott, Bourdillon"s closest freund on die 1953 team: "It was a decision tom always regretted."

So it was that 3 days danach Hillary and Tenzing collection out zum the top. Their pairing was hardly an accident. "It had constantly been Hunt"s intention, if feasible, zu include a Sherpa an one of the summit teams, as a way of recognizing your invaluable contribution to die success von these expeditions," maßband says. "Tenzing had currently proved he had actually summit potential by his performance ns previous year through Lambert.

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In fact, he had actually been hinweisen least 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) greater than any von us!" Indeed, Tenzing (who died bei 1986) was ns most knowledgeable Everest veteran alive, having participated in six previous do the efforts on ns mountain dating all the way back to 1935. (To those who criticize die practice des leading paying clients on Everest, Himalayan experience founder and longtime Everest guide russell Brice has a barbed, half-joking response: "You recognize who the first guided client on Everest was? ed Hillary.")

But Hillary, too, had proved his worth, seeming kommen sie grow stronger as die expedition progressed. Band notes the Hillary had also realized what a powerful team he and Tenzing would make. "During die expedition, through hindsight, one kann sein see that he do a intentional effort to develop a an excellent partnership v Tenzing," maßband says. "It paid off. Hillary and Tenzing were die logical second party zum the summit. But this was notfall determined at the outset, only during the course of the expedition as it evolved."

With an earlier start from a greater camp than Bourdillon und Evans"s, Tenzing und Hillary reached the South Summit über 9 a.m. But ns difficulties were much from over. After die South Summit, ns ridge bring away a slim dip prior to rising abruptly an a rocky spur some 40 feet (12 meters) high nur before ns true summit. Scraping at die snow with his ax, Hillary chimneyed bolzen the rock shaft and bei adjacent ridge of eis to surmount this an overwhelming obstacle, later to be known as die Hillary Step. Die pair reached die highest suggest on Earth hinweisen 11:30 a.m. On might 29.