Amidst the blistering cold and treacherous terrain, two men trudged forward. Their aim? To achieve one the greatest of human endeavors; climb the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. To succeed where many failed, sometimes with tragic consequences. The duo had bid farewell to their colleagues and had launched a final assault for the summit; failing which would render the expedition a failure. In the noon of 29th May, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stepped on the summit, thus etching their names into mountaineering history and became worldwide celebrities.
Everest has cemented itself as one the few frontiers that still challenges human capabilities, perhaps next only to the Mariana Trench. It was named after George Everest, the Surveyor General of India. Standing at 8,848 meters, Everest is part of the ‘Eight-Thousanders’, an array of Himalayan Mountains which are coincidently the highest peaks in the world.
The first exploratory missions were organized in 1921 which helped establish many of climbing routes that would be utilized in the future. Tragedy struck in 1924 when George Mallory and Andrew Irvine made an attempt to scale the summit with both of them falling to their deaths. Mallory’s remains were found three quarters of a century later while Irvine’s body is yet to be found. After numerous failed attempts, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay finally made history by becoming the first to successfully climb the mountain.
Mount Everest has its own peculiarities and unusual occurrences. There exists a cave which popularly known as the ‘Green Boot Cave’. It was named after a deceased Indian climber whose body can be found in a fetal position and has been preserved over the years. Similarly, a climber may notice at least ten bodies along the way to the summit. The unfeasibility of hauling down a cold, dead body has given rise to this grotesque phenomenon.
Today, there exists an industry dedicated to allowing wealthy clients to scale the summit with no training or experience. This rapid commercialization of the mountain has given cause for concern for some alpinists who believe it is not aligned with the true spirit of mountaineering.