Who’s climbed Everest? Have you climbed Everest? Have I? How many people have climbed Everest? Who hasn’t climbed Everest? When it comes to discussing the climbing of Everest, which is the world’s highest mountain lest we forget, people tend to have some questions. Lots of questions, in fact.
First things first, I have never climbed Everest. I’ve climbed Snowdon, sure. I’ve climbed Toubkal (the highest mountain in North Africa, don’t you know). But, strange as it may seem, I have never, not once in my life, climbed Everest. So, who has made it to the summit then? Seeing as I’m too lazy to even try.
Since Everest’s first ascent in 1953, over 4,000 people have gone on to conquer it. Men, women, children, and people with an array of disabilities have summoned up the willpower to defeat one of the world’s truly great challenges. And we salute them for it. In an ideal world, we’d do an in-depth 2,000 word piece on all of these mountaineering heroes. Due to time constraints, though, we’ve had to settle for picking out just a small collection of the legendary names forever associated with climbing Everest.
1) Sir Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Hillary, along with teammate Tenzing Norgay, was the first person to officially climb Everest. Born in 1919, and passing away in 2008, New Zealander Hillary was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. He’s kind of a big deal.
Speculation circulates that George Mallory actually summited Everest before dying on the way down, almost thirty years before Hillary’s climb, in 1924. However, because Mallory and his teammate Andrew Irvine disappeared from view…nobody knows for certain what happened in their final moments. Mallory’s remarkably well-preserved body was discovered above the 8,000 metres line in 1999, but the camera he took with him remains lost (a camera that could prove whether the ascent was successful or not). With research into the Mallory mystery ongoing, Hillary’s 1953 climb remains the first official climb to the top of the world’s highest mountain.
2) Tenzing Norgay
Tenzing Norgay (aka “Sir Edmund Hillary’s brother from another mother”) was the other half of the two man team that made the first the successful ascent of Everest on the 29th of May 1953. Born Namgyal Wangdi in 1914, and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, this Nepalese mountain legend was also named in TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.