How It Works

Mount Everest: How was the first ascent completed?


With just enough room for them to stand side by side, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay looked out at a view no one else had ever seen before. It was 11:30am on 29 May 1953 and they had just become the first people to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Their journey began over two months before, when a team of 14 expedition members, led by British Army Colonel John Hunt, set off for Base Camp accompanied by 20 Sherpa guides and over 350 porters carrying thousands of kilograms of equipment. To complete the climb, the team established many camps along their route, some of which are still used by climbers today, and used special breathing apparatus to survive the thin air at high altitudes.

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Along their journey, they had to scale glaciers, carve out paths in the ice and cross dizzying crevasses, and many had to turn back when their oxygen supplies depleted. Eventually, Hillary and Norgay made it to the top, where they hugged with relief, planted flags and took some photos. They began their journey back down the mountain soon after to avoid running out of oxygen.

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Plus, take a look at:

Why does air at the top of Everest contain only half the oxygen of air at sea level?

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