41 years, Australia

Daily Mountain

41 years, Australia

6 months ago

The first 10 climbers to summit Mt Everest

The first 10 mountaineers to ascend the highest peak in the world. How many years ago did it happen? Who were they? It goes without saying that the first 10 people who climbed Mount Everest successfully had to face great risks, as they were treading a lesser known path, full of dangers. Many had failed before these 10 climbers succeeded. 

1. Edmund Hillary, New Zealand (29th May, 1953)

Route: South East Ridge

New Zealand mountain climber and Antarctic explorer who, with the Nepali Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest. 

Sir Edmund Hillary was born on 20th July, 1919 in Tuakau, New Zealand. Before climbing Everest, he had scaled mountains in New Zealand and Europe (the Alps). Sir Edmund Hillary was part of a British expedition led by Lord John Hunt. He reached the summit at 11:30 am in the morning.

He developed interest in mountaineering when he was studying in secondary school. Ascending Mount Ollivier was hisfirst major achievement; he climbed the mountain in 1939.

He was knighted in 1953, shortly after the expedition returned to London. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand’s high commissioner to India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Over the years numerous other honours were bestowed on him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995. 

2. Tenzing Norgay, Nepal (29th May, 1953)

Route: South East Ridge

He was one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of the mountain, which he accomplished with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953. 

He was born on 29th May, 1914 in Khumbu, Nepal. Norgay was regarded as a legendary hero by many Nepalese and Indians. His many honours included Britain’s George Medal and the Star of Nepal (Nepal Tara). Man of Everest (1955; also published as Tiger of the Snows), written in collaboration with James Ramsey Ullman, is an autobiography. After Everest (1978), as told to Malcolm Barnes, tells of his travels after the Everest ascent and his directorship of the Field Training Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, which the Indian government established in 1954. Tenzing: Hero of Everest (2003), a biography of Tenzing Norgay by mountaineer and journalist Ed Douglas, is a sensitive appreciation of his life, achievements, and disappointments.

3. Ernst Schmied, Switzerland (23rd May, 1956)

Route: South East Ridge

He was a Swiss mountaineer who had built a reputation for being capable on both "stiff rock climbs" and "great ice ascents" prior to the 1956 expedition.

When he climbed Mount Everest, Schmied was closely accompanied by Jürg Marmet. The expedition witnessed no accidents at all. Explosives were used for blowing-up seracs during the expedition. While on this expedition, the mountaineers crossed the crevasses with the help of wooden beams and ladders.

4. Jurg Marmet, Switzerland (23rd May, 1956)

He was a member of the 1956 Swiss Mount Everest and Lhotse Expedition which made the second and third ascents of Everest and the first ascent of Lhotse.

Chemical engineer (1952), PhD in human toxicology (1957). Management positions in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food, vitamins & fine chemicals. CEO of an intercontinental research and business group. Retired in 1992. 

5. Dölf Reist, Switzerland (24th May 1956)

Route: South East Ridge

Dölf Reist was part of the Swiss expedition of which Jürg Marmet and Ernst Schmied were also the members.

Everest was ascended by Dölf Reist in the company of Hans Rudolf von Gunten. Their ascent came a day after the ascent of Ernst Schmied, and Jürg Marmet. Dölf Reist and Hans Rudolf von Gunten reached the summit from camp 7 after a 4-hour trek. They stayed at the summit for about 2 hours.

6. Hans Rudolf von Gunten (24th May 1956)

Route: South East Ridge

He was part of a Swiss expedition which included Dölf Reist, Ernst Schmied and Jürg Marmet.

The Swiss expedition which Hans Rudolf von Gunten's was one of the members, included 10 members, including a geographer and a glaciologist. Hans Rudolf von Gunten's team ascended the Lhotse Peak before going for the Everest Expedition.

7. Wang Fu-chou (25th May 1960)

Route: North Col-North East Ridge

Wang Fu-chou was part of a Chinese expedition led by Shih Cahn-chun.

The Chinese expedition was the first to successfully ascend Everest by taking the North Col-North East Ridge route. Initially, the credibility of the Chinese claim to have ascended Mount Everest was questioned by Western mountaineers. Unavailability of a summit photo of the Chinese team's ascent is the reason why their claim was under scrutiny.

Chinese climbers in 1960

8. Konbu aka Gonpa (25th May 1960)

Route: North Col-North East Ridge

Konbu aka Gonpa was the member of Shih Cahn-chun's Chinese expedition to Mount Everest.

Before becoming a mountaineer, Konbu was a soldier who served in the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Konbu was the first person from Tibet to summit Mount Everest.

9. Chu Ying-hua (25th May 1960)

Route: North Col-North East Ridge

Chu Ying-hua was part of the same Chinese team as Konbu aka Gonpa and Wang Fu-chou. This team, led by Shih Cahn-chun, consisted of Chinese and Tibetan mountaineers.

He was the first person from the North (Tibet-China) to climb Mount Everest.

10. Jim Whittaker (1st May 1963)

Route: South East Ridge

Jim Whittaker was the first American to climb Mount Everest. He was born on 10th February, 1929, in Seattle, USA.

Whittaker was one of the members of the American expedition led by Norman G. Dyhrenfurth. In his childhood days, Jim Whittaker and his twin brother Lou would practice climbing skills on a 30-foot artificial rock.

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