Friday, January 11, 2008

Tenzing on Summit (Nepal)

Edmund Hillary took this photograph of Tenzing Norgay as they became the first human beings to set foot on the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth.

In 1953, a British expedition travelled to Nepal. John Hunt (who led the expedition) selected two climbing pairs to attempt to reach the summit. The first pair (Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans) came within 300 feet of the summit on 26 May, but turned back after becoming exhausted. Two days later, the expedition made its second and final assault on the summit with its second climbing pair. The summit was eventually reached at 11:30 a.m. local time on 29 May 1953 by the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay from Nepal climbing 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.

Upon returning to Kathmandu a few days later, Hillary and Hunt discovered that they had been promptly knighted in the Order of the British Empire for their efforts. Hillary became a founding member of the Order of New Zealand. Tenzing was granted the George Medal for his efforts.

On 11 January 2008, Sir Edmund Hillary died of heart failure at the Auckland City Hospital, New Zealand, at around 9 am NZDT at the age of 88.

Tenzing died of a bronchial condition in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India on 9 May 1986, aged 71.

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