At 11.30am on 29th May 1953, two men stood on top of the highest point on earth, the summit of Mount Everest, on the frontier between Nepal and Tibet, at 29,029 feet (8,848 metres).
It was the first time that human beings had climbed so high, and they carried with them the hopes of an expedition organised by Britain’s Royal Geographical Society and Alpine Club.
Ironically, neither man was British. Edmund Hillary was a 33-year-old climber from New Zealand; Tenzing Norgay, a 39-year-old experienced Sherpa mountaineer from Nepal.
Their success was the culmination of several British attempts to scale the mountain. Nine expeditions were sent to Everest between 1921 and 1953.
The first British attempt begun on its north side, from Tibet, in 1921. After this unsuccessful attempt, further attempts were made in 1922, 1924 and then throughout the 1930s.
In the 1950s, in a changed political landscape, mountaineers had turned their attention to the south side, from Nepal, and finally were rewarded with success.
The successful 1953 British expedition was 400-strong and led by John Hunt. The group included 362 porters and 20 Sherpa high-altitude porters. They carried 10,000 pounds (4,535 kilograms) of stores and equipment to Base Camp.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest, Ammonite Press, in association with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), presents a lavish photographic record of this historic event.
Comprising of approximately 400 breathtakingly beautiful and unique photographs, hand-picked by RGS-IBG’s own Collections staff, along with descriptive captions, this stunning book transports the reader from base camp to the snow-clad slopes and ridges of Mount Everest, and to the peak itself.
Further details of Everest can be found on the main catalogue, available in ‘Catalogues’ on the Library’s website.