On May 29th, 1953: Hillary and Tenzing reach the summit of Mount Everest

Mount Everest Panorama

Mount Everest Panorama, seen from Tibetan Plateau, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mountains, especially the really, really high ones, have always fascinated people. So impressive, so challenging, so near to heaven – or hell.

But why should anyone want to risk their life to climb up a mountain? George Mallory, one of the people who tried to reach Mount Everest’s summit, answered famously: “Because it is there”. He tried, and failed. Not only didn’t he reach his goal- he lost his life at the attempt.

It was another man who should be the first to reach the goal of conquering “goddess mother of the world”, as it is called in Tibet. Sir Edmund Hillary, a mountaineer from New Zealand, reached the highest point of the Earth on May 28th, 1953, accompanied by the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, almost thirty years after Mallory’s unsuccessful endeavor and tragical death.

Hillary and Tenzing

Hillary and Tenzing. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The 60th return of this event is reason enough to celebrate with a few links on the Mount Everest and the people who tried to defeat it.

There is a huge amount of wonderful and impressive pictures featuring Mount Everest on the web. Here are a few examples:

One of the best ressources is the “Imaging Everest” from the Royal Geographic Society, dedicated to history, geography and the people and region surrounding the mountain.

Here is a HD panorama map of the Himalaya, to give you some orientation. Google Maps Streetview has also a panorama, from the Base Camp. And you can watch a cool video:

The NYT published a nice photo essay, “Exploring Nepal’s Everest region“. A huge collection of almost 400 pictures can be found here. National Geographic presents a few historical Everest expedition photos.

NASA provides an interesting tutorial on “How to find Mt. Everest from space” with many interesting photos.

Even the litter left by hundreds of mountaineers on the Everest is not wasted after all: Tibetan artists create stunning artworks from it.

Last, but not least, for the mountain itself, here’s the allegedly only 360° panorama view from the Everest’s top. Absolutely breathtaking!

But this day also celebrates the brave men who tried – and succeeded or failed – to conquer the mountain.

Edmund Hillary holds the title of the first man standing on top of the Everest.

Sir Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Listen to him telling you in an interview about his amazing achievement, in his own voice:

Here is a  TIME photo essay about Hillary’s ascent. A comprehensive biography can be found on Wikipedia.

In 2008, the NYT published an impressive obituary for Sir Edmund Hilary.

The second famous mountaineer to honor is George Mallory, who lost his life almost 90 years ago, allegedly on his way up to the summit. It could never be proved wether he reached it or not.

Mallory and expedition

Mallory, on the right of the rear row, on an Expedition to the Everest in 1921, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

BBC broadcasted an interesting Film, “The wildest dream”. See a trailer here:

Or explore a wonderful NatGeo photo essay about the recreation of his 1924 climb.

In 1999 Mallory’s body was discovered, after 75 years. Read an analysis of the discovery and Mallory’s final hours by the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition’s historian Jochen Hemleb.

At last some interesting trivia about the stunning effectiveness of Mallory’s Everest clothes.

Everest Mosaic by NASA

2004 photo mosaic of the Himalayas with Mount Everest from the ISS, Courtesy of NASA via Wiki Commons

And if anyone now plans to climb the highest peak of the world, here’s where to start: The website Summitpost.org provides a lot of information, from “Getting there” to a brief gear list. But before, you probably should try to solve this quiz 😉