The 29. May is celebrated as Sagarmatha Day in Nepal. It is the anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. “Sagarmatha” is the Nepali name for Mt. Everest. It is a Sanskrit word and means “Head of the Sky”, a very suitable name for the highest point on earth.
On 29. May 1953 the first two people in history could reach the summit of this mountain – Sir Edmund Hillary, a climber from New Zealand, and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali-Indian Sherpa. They were part of a British expedition consisting of 400 people. A couple of days before their peak ascent two other climbers from the expedition attempted to reach the summit, but had to turn back when their oxygen system failed. News of the successful ascent reached Britain on the coronation day of Queen Elizabeth II, the perfect coronation present, and Hillary was knighted for his efforts.
Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon
The anniversary of this ascent is commemorated with the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon. This international event is held annually on the 29. May at Mt. Everest Base Camp. This highest marathon in the world starts at the Base Camp and leads over rough mountain trails to end in the town Namche Bazaar. Runners are expected to arrive in Nepal three weeks prior to the marathon to acclimatize, and experience in running in rough terrain is essential to be allowed to take part.
Timeline of Everest Climbs
Since Hillary and Tenzing, many people have attempted to climb the highest peak of the world. It is a great challenge, even for experienced mountaineers, and many people have lost their lives. Still there are regularly ascents that astound us even more than the regular. Here’s a little timeline of the most impressive climbs:
1921: The first expedition sets out to Mt. Everest to find possible routes for an ascent. They get as far as the North Col at 7,020 metres.
1922 – 1952: Several expeditions, most of them British, were undertaken in order to reach the summit, but none of them succeeded.
1953: First successful climb by the ninth British expedition.
1970: Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura skies down Everest.
1978: Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler reach the summit on the first ascent without supplemental oxygen.
1986: Erhard Loretan and Jean Troillet climb the north face of Everest in record time, without any tents, intermediate camps, ropes or supplemental oxygen and slide down on their backsides. The whole climb takes 43 1/2 hours
1996: Göran Kropp of Sweden bicycles from Sweden all the way to Mt. Everest, climbes it alone and without the use of supplementary oxygen and cycles back home.
1998: Tom Whittaker reaches the summit as the first disabled person with an amputated foot.
2001: The blind climber Erik Weihenmayer reaches the top of Mt. Everest.
2004: Sherpa Pemba Dorjie climbs Mt. Everest within 8 hours, 10 minutes, making it the fastest ascent ever.
2006: Mark Inglis reaches the summit despite having amputated legs.
2008: Yuichiro Miura climbs Everest again at the age of 75, becoming the oldest person to do so.
2010: American climber Jordan Romero reaches the peak of Everest at the age of 13, being the youngest person to climb the summit.
2011: Apa Sherpa reaches the top for the 21. time as the person with most ascents of the peak.
2011: Bhakta Kumar Rai stays on the summit for 32 hours, meditating for world peace.
2011: George Atkinson reaches the top of Everest and completes his seven summit challenge at the age of 16. He is the youngest person in the world to have climbed the peaks of all seven continents.