A quarter of a century ago, two men stood on the summit of Mount Everest.?
A quarter of a century ago, two men stood on the summit of Mount Everest. Edmund -- now Sit Edmund -- and Sherpa Tenzing had realised what had always been, literally, one of man's highest ambitions. Last weekend (29 May) most of the men who made the assault on Everest were reunited on a much smaller hill in Wales.
SYNOPSIS: It was on the day that Queen Elizabeth the Second was crowned that news reached London of the conquest of Everest. Reaching 29,028 (8,880 metres) high, the summit had eluded twelve previous attempts had eluded twelve previous attempts to scale it, going back to 1921. But then, on May 29, 1953, a New Zealander and a Nepalese reached the top and earned themselves a place in history.
The assault was led by Sir John Hunt. With twelve climbers and 27 Sherpas, of whom Tenzing was one, the party made two attempts on the summit. The two men who broke through to the top were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing.
On its return to London the expedition was given a peerage, Hillary was knighted and Tenzing honoured by his own government. But, as Hunt consistently pointed out, the achievement was made possible only by teamwork and a maximum effort from all concerned during nearly two months in the Himalayas. Hunt had organised the climb with military precision. The rehearsals for the assault were the most thorough ever undertaken. Supplies of food, medical equipment and scientific exactitude. And the men who made the expedition had all been hand-picked for their skills and experience.
Some sixth people have climbed Everest since Hillary and Tenzing, but they remain synonymous with the world's highest mountain -- because they were first.
Last weekend, ten of the original party who set out in 1953 were reunited on a mountainside in Wales to mark the 25th anniversary of their achievement. Hillary, now 58, had this to say: