„Our forefathers climbed as mere mortals and were the first to scale Mount Everest and returned as heroes of the world”

Shortly after Tenzing Norge and Edmund Hillary first climbed Mount Everest

„I see them as true pioneers and explorers, paving the way for the unknown. Thanks to them and their team, we can do a lot today,” said Jamling Tenzing Norgay.

It marks the moment when his father, Tenzing Norge, first climbed the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, on May 29, 1953.

Norge reached the top of a mountain on the Nepal-China border with Edmund Hillary, a beekeeper from New Zealand.

Jamling Tenzing Norge and Peter Hilary, the respective sons of two mountaineers, grew up hearing tales of heroism from their parents. Both followed those instructions and conquered Everest too.

On the anniversary of the historic trek, they proudly spoke to the BBC about their parents’ feat.

A historic rise

„They rose from mere mortals to become world heroes. That achievement did not change them. The same simple and humble people. Both of them spent their entire lives giving back to the people of the Himalayas,” Jamling said proudly.

„Every time someone does something that has never been done before, they signal to others that they can do it too. On the 70th anniversary, we celebrate this achievement,” Peter added.


Jamling with his father and brother.

The 1953 climb certainly set a precedent that many followed: in the first ten days of that year’s climbing season, more than 500 people reached Everest’s 8,849-meter summit.

Improvements in technology, logistics and communications make this possible, but Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norge accomplished this feat without modern devices such as GPS or satellite phones..

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In fact, it took three days for news of his achievement to reach London.

The pair found success after several expeditions in the previous three decades had failed to reach the top spot.

Tenzing attempted the climb six times over two decades, including one ascent in 1952.

„When I was a kid I used to raise yaks. [mi padre] I wondered why no bird could fly over that particular hill,” Jamling recalled.

“I was moved by a prophecy made by a lama (a high-ranking Buddhist priest). A Buddhist is the first to reach the top„.

Edmund Hillary, center, and Peter, right, a local climber.

Edmund Hillary, center, and Peter, right, a local climber.

15 minutes of fame

Peter said his father realized he had a great chance to make history when he was asked to join the 9th British expedition to climb the peak.

„He always knew he had to be ahead. He was an ambitious guy.”He pointed out.

„One of the things I remember most was his description of how he climbed the South Peak through snow and ice.

„He said that great snow and ice fell from the steep slopes towards Tibet, cutting the steps and leading the way.”

Despite the bad weather they kept going. If it had been any other peak, Peter would have given up and come another day. But an inner voice told him to continue.

When they got to the top of the world, they were running low on oxygen. After spending about 15 minutes there, they came down.

Picture of Tensing on top of Everest taken by Edmund Hillary.

Picture of Tensing on top of Everest taken by Edmund Hillary.

Iconic image

Tenzing buried some sweets and cookies in snow and offered them as Buddhist offerings to the gods..

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Edmund Hillary took several photographs of the landscape and waved tensing flags representing Great Britain, Nepal, the United Nations and India.

However, there was no photo of Hillary at the summit.

„Dad joked that as far as he knew, Tensing had never used a camera before and didn’t think it was the right place to start,” Peter recalled.

Decades later, when Peter and Jamling climbed Everest, they better understood the unknown terrain their parents had traversed.

I first climbed in 1990. I can’t stop thinking about Dad.. When I got there, I saw what Dad saw. I had the same experience. It was very emotional,” Peter told the BBC.

Jamling peaked in 1996 for religious and personal reasons.

He and his father are Sherpas, an ethnic group from Tibet known for their mountaineering skills, who feel a deep spiritual connection to the Himalayas.

It was a pilgrimage for me. I want to reconnect with my religion and customs and understand what my father did.”

Jamling Tenzing Norge warns that the thrill of climbing Mount Everest has been lost.

Jamling Tenzing Norge warns that the thrill of climbing Mount Everest has been lost.

High population

However, many people reach the peak every year now.

Kami Rita, the highest mountain climber, reached the summit for the 28th time on Tuesday, breaking her own record.

A 26-summit contender Sherpa, Pasang Dawa is hot on his heels, and he’s vowed he won’t be retiring anytime soon.

Lakpa Sherpa set a record for female climbers by conquering her 10th summit last year.

Climbing is much easier now than it was in my father’s time. Technology helps a lot. After reaching the summit, some take helicopters from Camp 2 to Kathmandu. All avenues are paved,” Jamling continued.

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„There’s no emotion in the adventure, it’s become a photo event. They don’t climb anymore to enjoy the experience.”

Peter partially agrees. „We have endless ropes from base camp to the top, ladders over cracks, Sherpa teams with hot tea at the camps. You can be safely rescued by helicopter at 6,300 to 6,500 meters,” he said.

„However, the mountain is the same. It is a big mountain with challenging conditions,” he added.

Over 300 climbers have died in the last 100 years. This season alone, 11 climbers died.

„Mountains teach us to respect nature”Jamling said.

Monte Everest

The summit of Mount Everest is 8,849 meters.

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