Unraveling the Tale of Conquest: Who were Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary?
The tales of extraordinary human accomplishments are countless, but the story of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary is indeed an incredible feat that stands out. In 1953, these two mountaineers etched their names into the annals of history by becoming the first people to reach the summit of the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Let’s delve deeper into the life of these extraordinary individuals and their monumental achievement.
Who was Edmund Hillary?
Edmund Hillary, born on July 20, 1919, in Auckland, New Zealand, was an explorer with a deep love for heights. Raised in a humble background, his passion for mountain adventures was ignited at a young age. Hillary’s first encounter with mountain climbing was during a school trip when he was just sixteen. The journey was a significant eye-opener that shaped his future career as an explorer.
Hillary served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War II and, after the war, worked as a beekeeper, a job which offered seasonal work, leaving him winters free for climbing in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. On three separate occasions, in 1951, 1952, and 1953, he was a part of the British reconnaissance expeditions to Mount Everest.
Who was Tenzing Norgay?
Tenzing Norgay was born on May 29, 1914, in Tsa-chu, near Makalu, in northeastern Nepal. Although he wasn’t sure of his birthdate, he later decided to celebrate it on May 29, the same date he and Hillary summitted Everest. Tenzing was part of an ethnic group of Sherpas, famous for their climbing skills.
Tenzing’s initial trekking experience began as a porter in various expeditions, which laid the foundation of his future as a high-altitude mountaineer. His encounter with Mount Everest came early, with his first expedition attempting to conquer the peak in 1935. Norgay then attempted Everest six more times, coming close but never reaching its pinnacle, until the 1953 expedition.
The Historic Triumph
The historic expedition that scaled Everest was organized and financed by the Joint Himalayan Committee of the Alpine Club of Great Britain and the Royal Geographical Society, led by Colonel John Hunt. Even though both Hillary and Tenzing were an integral part of the team, their names will forever be remembered as the very first to stand atop the world’s highest peak on May 29, 1953.
Though the achievement was a significant landmark event in human history, both Hillary and Tenzing remained humble and shared equal credit for the feat. Their accomplishment served as a symbol of unity, perseverance, and human potential and continues to inspire adventurous souls even today.
Lives after Everest
After Everest, Edmund Hillary devoted his post-climbing years to philanthropy, initiating the Himalayan Trust in 1960 to support the Sherpa community, focusing on health, education, and living conditions in Nepal. He was made a knight in 1953 for his achievement and subsequently received other significant awards, including the Order of the Garter. Hillary passed away in January 2008.
Tenzing Norgay, after achieving this monumental feat, served as the first Director of Field Training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in India. Like Hillary, Tenzing was honored by numerous awards including the George Medal from Britain, and the Padma Bhushan from India. Tenzing passed away in May 1986.
- Q1: What role did Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary play in the 1953 Mount Everest Expedition?
A: Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary were part of the British Everest Expedition team lead by John Hunt. However, they are famously known as the first two climbers who reached the summit of Mount Everest.
- Q2: Why are Tenzing and Hillary’s achievement significant?
A: Their achievement marked the first successful ascent to the peak of the highest point on earth, Mount Everest. The event is a major milestone in the history of mountaineering and exploration, showcasing human strength and the spirit of adventure.
- Q3: What contribution did Hillary make to the Sherpa community?
A: Hillary started the Himalayan Trust in 1960, with the aim of providing aid and improving the living conditions of the Sherpa community in the Solu-Khumbu district of Nepal. The trust has completed numerous projects in the fields of education, healthcare, and local infrastructure development.
- Q4: Where was Tenzing Norgay born?
A: Tenzing Norgay was born in Tsa-chu, located near Makalu, in northeastern Nepal.
- Q5: What did Edmund Hillary do for a living?
A: Hillary worked as a beekeeper which left him free during the winters for climbing. After his climb of Everest, he devoted his life to philanthropy, supporting the Sherpa community in Nepal.