Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On top of the world


After many attempts by others, Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay finally conquered Mount Everest at 11:30 am local time on 29 May 1953. The event coincided with the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth and was a source of national pride.

Sixty years on and things are very different as you can see from this National Geographic photo taken at the summit on May 19, 2012.

In order to reach the top these days, you join a queue of climbers and wait your turn. The main danger now is running out of oxygen before getting there.

Climbers with large wallets and little experience enjoy the luxury of huge tents at the lower camps. For £50,000 you can have a group of Sherpas lay out rope to make the climb easy.

Last month a fight broke out between a group of British climbers and their sherpas. It is doubtful that the climbers even knew the names of their guides, a far cry from the time when Hilary and Norgay worked together to achieve their goal  and neither would not say which one reached the summit first.

Conquering Everest may be on some people’s list of things to do before they die, it is definitely not on mine.

1 comment:

Man United Dave said...

Hi Keith, ahhhh you've started a post on my favourite subject at the moment: George Leigh Mallory. It will never be proved that Mallory and Sandy Irvine summitted Chomolungma (ie Everest in local lingo) in June 1924, but legend has it that they did. They were last seen 800 feet from the summit and when Mallory's perfectly preserved body was found in the Death Zone in 1999, the picture of his wife Ruth was the only thing missing. He had promised that he would leave it at the top if he became the first man to conquer the great mountain. Unfortunately, Irvine has never been found and he had the bloody camera!! I would urge you to watch The Wildest Dream if you can - I have a copy on DVD ;) In my eyes, Mallory was the first man to conquer Everest but I am acutely aware that people contest this, as Hillary has always maintained that to conquer a mountain, one must get down as well as up..... cheers, Dave