Who was the first person to climb Mt. Everest is a subject of debate for climbers.
Those who follow the history closely claim Andrew Irvine was the first to do so in 1924. It is not possible to climb a 29,000 foot peak without assistants. George Mallory went on the long journey and died in the attempt. Searchers recovered his body in 1999.
Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzig Norgay climbed Everest on May 29, 1953. They were the first to ascend, then descend the highest peak on Earth. It is without doubt that such a hazardous trek is not possible unless Sherpa guides from impoverished Nepal assist the dozens of climbers who live out their “bucket list” of things to do before their time runs out.
Sadly, over 200 people have died in attempting to reach the summit.
Everest climbers must take advantage of May, the only month when it is possible to try. Because of a recent ice avalanche on the mountain that killed over one dozen Sherpa guides from Nepal and unjust economic returns to the families of Sherpas, there will be no climbing season for 2014. For the first time since the early 1900’s, Mt. Everest will be undisturbed.
A university classmate who spent decades in Peru invited me to visit Huascaron mountain, the highest peak in the Andes at 22,200 feet. Young Peruvian men thought we were climbers and offered to serve as guides. An icy pinnacle hung down precariously from Huascaron in my 1968 visit. We stood in a village square that later appeared in TIME magazine. An avalanche of ice, snow and mud suddenly descended upon the small Peruvian town burying the square where we stood, killing several hundred people in a tragedy similar to the 79AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that swallowed Pompeii’s residents. All that was visible in the village square were several trees protruding from the mud. What remains of a melting Huascaron 46 years after admiring the highest peak I have seen?
For those with a sense of curiosity, The Fate Of Mountain Glaciers In the Anthropocene (human dominated age) is essential reading. Mt. Everest is not safe anymore.
GRIST published an article in April presenting the widest possible question: “Will warming of Earth render climbing of Mt. Everest a venture of the past?
Documentation about 400 vanishing glaciers appeared in the ADVERTISER on another occasion. If Mount Everest, the highest of all glaciers is slowly succumbing to climate change, how is it possible to secure a peg in the ice of any mountain?