One of the first two individuals to step on the Everest summit, Tenzing Norgay made a monumental achievement on behalf of his fellow Sherpas, his Countrymen and mankind.
Counted along with Edmund Hillary when recalled the greatest event in the history of climbing, Tenzing became an influential Hero around the world, moreover, a caring friend, humble guide, an adventurer, a climbing partner and the leader. Without his assistance and expertise, it would surely have been a Herculean task for Britishers to successfully climb the Everest. Earlier, his desire for climbing was driven by the need of earning for living and sustaining family, however, the passion for tasting the greatest mountain came from his passion for Everest.
Originally named “Namgyal Wangdi,” Tenzing Norgay Sherpa (1914-1986) made a humble start of his lifelong career. He was appointed as a porter by Eric Shipton during an Everest expedition of 1935. Before reaching the Everest summit in 1953, he had already made 6 expeditions to Everest (participating in teams for various nations). His teammates and superiors applauded him for his strength, friendliness and maturity. Once, after rescuing Hillary from a crevasse fall during 1953’s expedition he befriended him and later became his climbing partner.
In 1947, he earned an opportunity to become the Sirdar (Leader of mountain expedition) of a Swiss expedition on Everest. Afterwards, it was never looking back for him. With his extensive expertise in climbing and familiarity with the Everest, Tenzing earned a prime slot on every major Everest expeditions thereon.
He is equally revered by Nepalese and Indians, alike.
Mount Everest and The Fame
The year 1953 gave birth to two of the greatest achievers in the climbing domain, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, respectively. “The first two men to step on the Everest’s summit,” made headlines around the world in June 2 1953. The headline overlapped Queen Elizabeth II crowning ceremony, aptly overshadowing the monarchical event. Participating in John Hunt’s expedition of Everest, accounting to 362 porters, 20 Sherpa guides and 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) of loads, Tenzing earned an opportunity to befriend Hillary after saving his life, later becoming both becoming close friends and climbing partners.
Following Bourdillon and Evans failed summit, the Hillary-Tenzing pair made it to Everest on May 29 at 11:30 am. They stayed for 15 minutes on the summit and Tenzing buried sweets on the snow as offering to Mountain God.
He later received George Medal from Queen Elizabeth II for his efforts on the expedition, Order of the Star of Nepal from the reigning Nepalese monarch and Padma Bhusan from the president of India.
It has been a long road … From a mountain coolie, a bearer of loads, to a wearer of a coat with rows of medals who is carried about in planes and worries about income tax.
To recognize his and Hillary’s feats, Nepal Government later renamed the famed Lukla Airport to Tenzing-Hillary Airport. Today, this airport serves as a single access to the remote region of Khumbu through Air, and transporting the avid adventurers looking for famed Everest base camp trek.
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