Sir Edmund Hillary and Norgay
Everest, formidable and majestic as it towers above its surrounding companions, forever posing the greatest challenge to man in the world of mountain climbing. For two men however, the challenge put them forever into the history books as the first climbers to ascend Mount Everest successfully by means of the Southern-East Ridge Route.
It all began in 1951 with the first British reconnaissance expedition. Eric Shipton was leader of the group with Edmund Hillary by his side. A year later would bring restrictions by Chinese-controlled Tibet, allowing only one expedition to take place per year by the Nepalese’s Government. With this in hand the Swiss expedition took place in 1952 with the assistance of Tenzing Norgay. Alas, just 260 meters from the summit, the expedition had to turn back due to bad weather conditions making it impossible to carry on. 1953 could not have come as more of a surprise for Hillary and Lowe. While on their trip up the Alps during 1952, both found themselves cordially invited to make the attempt alongside the British team who had been permitted to ascend Everest the following year. Hunt replaced Shipton as the leader for the 1953 tour; however Hillary, feeling disconcerted, considered pulling out but with some persuasion decided to see it through. The two teams named for the attempt were: Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
In order to make the expedition as successful as it could be, team effort had to be in the forefront and was strongly encouraged by John Hunt, leader and firm believer in this. Lowe took on the preparation for the climb up the steep ice face of ‘Lhotse Face’ while Hillary slowly plotted a route through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall. At 7,900 meters the group finally set up camp along the South Col with the first of the two teams, Bourdillion and Evans making the first attempt on May, 26. Charles Evans unfortunately, would be forced to turn back with Tom Bourdillion when his oxygen system failed just 100 meters away from making history. Finally it came down to Hillary and Norgay to make the second and last attempt to the summit. Their opportunity came on May 28, having been held up by snow and wind. With support group: Lowe, Ang Nyima and Alfred Gregory having returned down the mountain Hillary and Norgay set up their tent at 8,500 meters high. The following morning they began the last stage in relative ease once they had overcome the trial of passing through a crack which lay between a rock wall and ice. Their final steps into history came just before 11:30am where they spent 15 minutes gazing from the summit, the world seemed all theirs. Having finally accomplished what seemed impossible; Tenzing Norgay would have his photo take by Hillary. This would be the first photographic evidence up on the summit of Everest while Hillary would be the first contributor to the Everest photo library. Their mark into history would be left behind with Norgay leaving chocolate out of respect and Hillary a cross.