29 May 1953, Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest
1953: Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest [BBC]
The New Zealander Edmund Hillary, and the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, have become the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border.
They reached the top of the world at 1130 local time after a gruelling climb up the southern face.
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.
Mr Hillary took several photographs of the scenery and of Sherpa Tenzing waving flags representing Britain, Nepal, the United Nations and India.
Sherpa Tenzing buried some sweets and biscuits in the snow as a Buddhist offering to the gods.
They looked for signs of George Mallory and Andrew “Sandy” Irvine who had disappeared in 1924 in a similar attempt to conquer Everest, but found nothing.
Then they began the slow and tortuous descent to rejoin their team leader Colonel John Hunt further down the mountain at Camp VI.
When he saw the two men looking so exhausted Col Hunt assumed they had failed to reach the summit and started planning another attempt.
But then the two climbers pointed to the mountain and signalled they had reached the top, and there were celebrations all round. …