Mt. Everest is the world’s highest mountain at 8,848 m (29,029 ft) . Everest is in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayan Mountains on the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Its massif includes neighboring peaks Lhotse (8516m), Nuptse (7855m), and Changtse (7580m).
The highest mountain in the world attracts many experienced mountaineers as well as novice climbers who are willing to pay substantial sums to professional mountain guides. The mountain, while not posing substantial technical climbing difficulty on the standard route (other eight-thousand meter peaks such as K2 or Nanga Parbat are much more difficult), still has many inherent dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, and wind.
By the end of the 2008 climbing season, there had been 4,102 ascents to the summit by about 2,700 individuals. By the end of 2009 Everest had claimed 216 lives.
Watch this video clip about Everest from YouTube
1921: First expedition
- The first British expedition, under the leadership of Colonel Charles Howard-Bury and the mountaineering leader, Harold Raeburn, included George Mallory, Guy Bullock and Edward Oliver Wheeler. It was primarily for mapping and to ascertain if a route to the summit of Mt. Everest could be found from the north (Tibetan) side. As the health of Raeburn broke down, Mallory assumed responsibility for most of the exploration to the north and east of the mountain, and became the first Westerner to put foot on the Everest massif. They reached the North Col of Everest at 7,066 m (23,000 ft) before being forced back.
1922: First attempt
- The second British expedition, under General Charles Granville Bruce and climbing leader Lt-Col. Edward Lisle Strutt, included George Mallory for a full-scale attempt on the mountain. On May 22nd, they climbed to 8,170 m (26,800 ft) on the North Ridge before retreating. A day later, George Finch and Geoffrey Bruce climbed up the North Ridge and Face to 8,320 m (27,300 ft) using oxygen. On June 7, George Mallory led a third attempt but set off an avalanche, killing seven Sherpa climbers- the first reported deaths on Everest.
1924: Mallory and Irvine
- The third British expedition was again led by Charles Granville Bruce. However, a flare-up of malaria forced him to relinquish leadership of the expedition to Lt. Col Edward Norton, and thus George Mallory was promoted to climbing leader. Geoffrey Bruce, Howard Somervell, and John Noel returned from the previous year, along with newcomers Noel Odell and Andrew Irvine. On June 4, Norton and Somervell attempted to summit without oxygen.
On June 8, Mallory and Irvine attempted the summit using oxygen and Irvine’s modified oxygen apparatus, an attempt from which they never returned.
In 1999, the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition found Mallory’s body in the predicted area near the old Chinese camp.
Irvine’s body was probably found by a Chinese climber in 1960 (nowhere near Mallory’s, proving the two had separated) but has not been rediscovered since, despite several searches in 2004.
The year before his fateful expedition Mallory had gone on a speaking tour of the United States in 1923; it was then that he exasperatedly gave the famous reply, “Because it is there,” to a New York journalist in response to hearing the question, “Why climb Everest?” for seemingly the thousandth time.
1953: Tenzing and Hillary
- In 1953, a ninth British expedition, led by John Hunt, returned to Nepal. Hunt selected two climbing pairs to attempt to reach the summit. The first pair turned back after becoming exhausted high on the mountain. The next day, the expedition made its second and final assault on the summit with its fittest and most determined climbing pair. The summit was eventually reached at 11:30 a.m. local time on May 29, 1953 by the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay from Nepal climbing the South Col Route.
- Here is a documentary movie about Sir Edmund Hillary’s conquest of the highest mountain on earth from YouTube:
1996: Disaster Year
During the 1996 climbing season, fifteen people died trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest single year in Everest history. That year, on May 10 a storm stranded several climbers between the summit and the safety of Camp IV, killing five on the south side (Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Yasuko Namba, Doug Hansen and guide Andy Harris) and three Indian (Ladakhi) climbers on the north (Tsewang Paljor, Dorje Morup and Tsewang Smanla). Hall and Fischer were both highly experienced climbers who were leading paid expeditions to the summit. The disaster gained wide publicity and raised questions about the commercialization of Everest.
Journalist Jon Krakauer, on assignment from Outside magazine, was also in Hall’s party, and afterwards published the bestseller Into Thin Air which related his experience. Anatoli Boukreev, a guide who felt impugned by Krakauer’s book, co-authored a rebuttal book called The Climb. The dispute sparked a large debate within the climbing community. In May 2004, Kent Moore, a physicist, and John L. Semple, a surgeon, both researchers from the University of Toronto, told New Scientist magazine that an analysis of weather conditions on that day suggested that freak weather caused oxygen levels to plunge by around 14 percent, which may have contributed to the deaths.
Watch this video to know more about what was happening at Mt. Everest in 1996 from YouTube:
During the same season, climber and filmmaker David Breashears and his team filmed the IMAX feature “Everest” on the mountain (some climbing scenes were later recreated for the film in British Columbia, Canada). The 70 mm IMAX camera was specially modified to be lightweight enough to carry up the mountain, and to function in the extreme cold with the use of particular greases on the mechanical parts, plastic bearings and special batteries.
The storm’s impact on climbers on the mountain’s other side, the North Ridge, where several climbers also died, was detailed in a first hand account by British filmmaker and writer Matt Dickinson in his book The Other Side of Everest.
2003 – 50th Anniversary
- Dick Bass – the first person to climb the seven summits, and who first stood atop Everest in 1985 at 55 years old (making him the oldest person at that time to do so) returned in 2003 to attempt to reclaim his title. At 73 he would have reclaimed this honor, but he made it to ABC only. Dick’s team mates included the renowned American climbers Jim Wickwire and John Roskelley.
1922: 7 Sherpa climbers died in an avalanche becoming the first reported deaths on Everest.
1953: Tenzing Norgay & Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (New Zealand) summitted for the first time on May 29 via the South-East Ridge Route. (Western Cwn, Lhotse face to the South-East ridge.)
1960: May 25: Chinese team made the first Summit of Everest via the North Ridge.
1963: James Whittaker reached the Summit of Everest becoming the first American.
1965: May 20: Nawang Gombu Sherpa became the first person to Summit Everest twice. Both of his summits were via the South-East ridge, his first as a member of Jim Whittaker‘s American Expedition were he became the 11th person to summit Everest. Out of the first seventeen summits of Everest, Nawang had two of them!
1975: Junko Tabei of Japan became the first woman to reach the summit on May 16 via the South-East Ridge.
A Tibetan woman, Phantog, reached the summit only a few days after Junko on May 27, becoming the second woman to summit Everest and the first woman to summit from the North (Tibet) side.
1978: First Ascent without bottled oxygen: Peter Habeler (Austria) and Reinhold Messner (Italy) on May 8 via the South-East Ridge.
The first European woman and the third woman to summit Everest, Wanda Rutkiewicz, reaches the top. Wanda goes on to become known as the greatest woman climber ever.
1979: The first woman, Hannelore Schmatz, dies on Everest descending from the summit after becoming only the fourth woman to summit Everest.
May 13: Andrej Stremfelj and Jernej “Nejc” Zaplotnik reached the summit via the true West ridge and descend via the Hornbein Couloir. Also the first Slovenians climbers to summit Everest.
1980: First Winter ascent Krzysztof Wielicki (Poland) on February 2.
1982: Laurie Skreslet became the first Canadian to reach the summit on October 5.
May 4: 11 Russia climbers reached the summit via the South-West Pillar left of the Great Central Gully on the Southwest Face.
1983: October 8: Lou Reichardt, Kim Momb, and Carlos Buhler reached the summit via the East or Kangshung face.
1984: The first Indian women to climb Mt. Everest was Bachendri Pal on May 23.
October 3: Australians Tim Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer reached the summit via the North Couloir (North Face to Norton Couloir) without bottled oxygen.
October 20: Phil Ershler becomes first American to summit the North side of Everest.
1985: Dick Bass, 55, reaches the summit of Everest becoming the oldest person at the time.
1986: May 20: Canadian Sharon Wood became the first North American woman to summit Everest and climbed the new route of the West Shoulder from the Rongbuk Glacier and continued on to the summit via the Hornbein Couloir.
1988: May 12: British Stephen Venables, climbed a line to the left of the 1983 Kangshung Face route.
September 29: The First American Woman, Stacey Allison reaches the summit of Everest via the South-East ridge.
First woman without oxygen Lydia Bradey (New Zealand) October 14.
1989: May 16: Ricardo Torres of Mexico became the first Latin American climber to summit Everest.
Carlos Carsolio, also Mexican, was the first Latin American to climb Everest without oxygen.
1990: First Married Couple to summit together: Andrej and Marija Stremfelj of Slovenia, on October 7. Marija was also the first Slovenian women to summit Everest.
First Son of a summiter to summit Everest: Peter Hillary of New Zealand on May 10.
First father and son to summit together: Jean Noel Roche and his son Roche “Zebulon” Bertrand. For the descent they flew together on a tandem paraglide from the south Col to base camp on October 7. Roche Bertrand was 17 and became the youngest person to ever climb Everest at the time.
1992: First case of two brothers reaching the summit together: Alberto and Felix Inurrategui on September 25.
1993: The first Nepalese woman, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, summits Everest but dies descending from the summit on April 23.
1995: May 11: The first ascent of the Northeast Ridge was completed by Kiyoshi Furuno (Japan), Shigeki Imoto (Japan), Dawa Tshering Sherpa, Pasang Sherpa, and Nima Sherpa.
May 14: Waldemar Niclevicz became the first Brazilian to climb Everest.
Nasuh Mahruki became the first Turkish and Muslim climber in the world to climb Everest.
1996: The first ascent of the North-Northeast couloir by Peter Kuznetzov, Valeri Kohanov and Grigori Semikolenkov on May 20.
Lene Gammelgaard became the first Danish and Scandinavian woman to summit Everest via the South-East Ridge Route route on May 10.
1999: Babu becomes the first and only climber to sleep on the summit. Babu spent over 21 hours on the summit of Everest.
2000: Nazir Sabir became the first Pakistani to summit the Everest on May 17.
The first true ski descent was done by Davo Karnicar.
Roche Bertrand and his wife Claire Bernier Roche descended together on a tandem paraglider from the North side summit of Everest. This first husband and wife to fly from the summit together!
2002: Phil and Susan Ershler reached the summit of Mt. Everest, becoming the first couple to climb the Seven summits together. Additionally, they became the first American couple to climb Mt. Everest.
2004: On May 16 Vicky Jack became the oldest British woman to climb Mt. Everest at the age of 51.
On May 18 Clare O’Leary became the first Irish woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
May 21 saw Pemba Dorje Sherpa made a new speed record of 8 hours and 10 minutes from base camp to summit of Mt. Everest.
2005: A new height for Mt. Everest was taken using GPS to be 29.017ft and 2 inches
On May 30 Moni Mulepati and Pem Dorjee became the first to exchange wedding vows on the summit of Mt. Everest.
2006: Mark Ingliz from New Zealand became the first ‘double amputie’ (has artificial legs) to reach Everest’s summit on May 15.
Rob Gauntlet and James Hooper, both 19, became the youngest Britons to reach Everest’s summit on the May 17.
Pauline Sanderson became the first person to complete the longest climb on earth, from the Dead Sea and reaching the summit of Everest on the May 18.
On the May 22 Will Cross from Pittsburgh became the first person with Type 1 Diabetes to reach the summit of Everest.
Ming Kipa Sherpa, 15, became the youngest female to reach the summit of Everest on the May 24.
2007: Chhiring Dorje Sherpa climbed to the summit 3 times within 2 weeks. Summit dates were May 2, 15, and 16.
2007: On May 24 Tori James became the first Welsh woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
2008: Sir Edmund Hillary sadly passed away at age 88 on January 11 and was given a State Funeral.
The first Saudi Arabian, Farouq Saad Hamad Al-Zuman, reached the summit of Everest on the May 21.
Australian Cheryl Bart and her daughter Nicole Bart were the first mother-and-daughter to summit Everest together on May 24.
May 26 saw Dave Hahn become the first non-Sherpa to summit Everest for the tenth time.
2009: Apa Sherpa made his nineteenth ascent to the summit on May 21, the most ever.
On May 22 American climber Dave Hahn made his eleventh trip to the summit, the most of a non-Sherpa.
Here is a map Mt. Everest:
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