60 Years in the Making: History, Records, Controversy and Retribution in the Everest

History

Once upon a time, not so long ago, two brave souls conquered the impossible summit of Greatest mountain in the World- The Everest

May 29, 2013 will mark the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of the Everest. The feat first achieved by the mighty and determined climbers, Sir Edmund Hillary (Kiwi) and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa (Nepal). The day also marked the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in England, however, people in later years came to remember only the Everest summit (No Offense).

hillary and tenzing sherpa at the Everest summit, 1953

Hillary (Left) and Tenzing Sherpa at the Everest summit, in may 29 1953

The two men hugged each other with relief and joy but only stayed on the summit for 15 minutes because they were low on oxygen […] Sherpa Tenzing buried some sweets and biscuits in the snow as a Buddhist offering to the gods. (Source: BBC)

That very day marked its existence on the history. It gave a belief in people that climbing the highest mountain in the world is very possible. It opened an opportunity for passionate creatures in the world to taste the victorious Himalaya and carry home the experience of a lifetime. These venture came with a price though, sometimes climbers retreated from the attempt, some lost their tentacles because of frigid cold, and few unfortunates paid with their lives.

In the past century, at least 240 people have died on Everest’s slopes. That’s 1 death for every 25 successful summits. In 1963, twice as many people had died on Everest’s flanks as had reached her summit. (Source)

Jim Whittaker’s successful attempt in 1963 gave Everest a larger than life image for Americans and many westerners.

The Records

Reinhold Messner  (1978) became the first ever to summit the Everest without the supplement bottled O2.

Ever since, many climbers chased their own goals and came out with record breaking accolades. Some took the glory for attempting most successful climbs, some completing at shortest time possible and some at the youngest/oldest age.

It always served a platform for everyone looking to do extraordinary! The glory is always there, one has just got to try and grab it!

The Controversy

The 60th anniversary will not only mark the achievement of two greatest lads in the history of climbing, but will once again raise the dire issue surrounding the climbing. The over-exploitation of the mountains, the over-influx of climbers increasing every year and the deaths that follow, will once again erupt among the celebrated ones.

Criticized by Messner and Hillary, the commercial climbing expeditions in the Everest is pushing the limit of normalcy. In May 2012, Everest took 4 innocent lives, because the whole bunch of commercial climbers (numbering up to 300) tried reaching the summit the same day. Everest just couldn’t take it! It was lot to handle! Many of the climbers were amateurs (some with ZERO experience), but they could and did afford paying thousands of dollars.

The commercial expeditions provided by 100s’ of operators around the globe is creating a fictitious diorama of the Glory, a glory once can buy with loads of money. The amateurish behavior of the climbers and their general carelessness have caused risk to the whole expedition, killing people many times.

April 2013, a fight broke out between 3 professional climbers and Sherpas at 20,000 feet on the Everest, raising the issue of ethics and respect on the climb.

Hillary commenting on the death of David Sharp (died on Everest in 2006), and particularly on selfishness of other climbers;

I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top. It was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say good morning and pass on by.

Everest, once stood for Greatness and Glory, is now a part of just commercial holiday enjoyed by anyone paying top dollar.

The Retribution

It’ll soon follow, may be it’s not the time yet! It’s a day to mark the auspicious occasion of Hillary and Sherpa’s magnanimous feat. It’s a glorious day, day of hope, success and brotherhood.

Resources:

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4 thoughts on “60 Years in the Making: History, Records, Controversy and Retribution in the Everest

  1. Pingback: 60 Years in the Making: History, Records, Contr...

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