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- Mt. Everest 8848 meters or 29,029 ft*
*Note the National Geographic
Society has determined the height as being 29,035 feet. However, this "new"
height is not yet determined as official to our knowledge. As the norm with Everest, nothing is simple.
Sir George Everest, Surveyor General of India from
1830 to 1843, records the location of Everest.
Peak b is surveyed the British, which ruled India; The
height is calculated at 30,200 feet from measurements
taken 110 miles away.
The Great Trigonmetrical Survey of India determines
the Peak XV is the highest mountain in the world.
Peak b renamed Peak XV.
Surveyor Andrew Waugh completes the first height
measurement, declaring Everest to be 8840 meters high.
Peak XV re-named Mt. Everest to honor Sir George
Everest, the Surveyor General of India. Everest is
known as Chomolungma in Tibet and Sagarmatha in Nepal.
The Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, concerned about
possible Russian influence inside Tibet, sends Sir
Francis Younghusband to ostensibly negotiate
"frontiers and trade". The Tibetans refuse to enter
negotiations, so Younghusband leads a British Army
Expedition to Lhasa. A treaty is eventually signed in
September, 1904, after the Dalai Lama flees to
A member of Younghusband's staff, J. Claude White,
photographs the Eastern side of Everest from Kampa
Dzong, 94 miles away. While not the first photograph
of Everest ever taken, it's the first to show any
significant details of the mountain.
Natha Singh, a member of the British Indian Survey,
obtains permission to enter the Mount Everest region
from the Nepalese side. He maps the Dudh Kosi valley -
gateway to the southern route up the mountain - all
the way to the end of the Khumbu Glacier.
Captain John Noel, a British military officer, travels
to Tibet in disguise (at the time foreigners were
forbidden in Tibet) to find the best way to approach
Everest. He comes to within 60 miles of Everest, only
to find his way blocked by an unexpected mountain
range that did not appear on his faulty maps. Noel is
able to view the top 1000 feet (300 meters) of Everest
when it appears out of the shifting mists, a
"glittering spire of rock fluted with snow".
The Dalai Lama opens Tibet to outsiders after the
political situation involving China and Russia relaxes
somewhat. The Royal Geographic Society and the Alpine
Club hold a joint meeting to discuss how to proceed
with an expedition to Mount Everest. Explorers had
reached both the North and South Poles, so the next
"feat" was Everest. The Mount Everest Committee is
established by Younghusband, and a formal resolution
is passed stating that an expedition would take place
the following year with reconnaissance as the first
priority, (although a summit attempt was not
discouraged). A full-scale summit attempt was to be
launched the following year in 1922.
The First British Everest Reconnaissance Expedition to
the mountain, led by Lt. Colonel Charles Howard-Bury.
This is George Leigh Mallory's first trip to the
mountain. After spending ten weeks exploring the
northern and eastern reaches of the mountain, on
September 24, 1921, Guy Bullock and George Mallory
were the first climbers to reach the North Col of
Everest at an altitude of around 23,000 feet (7000
meters). The northern route up the mountain had now
The Second British Everest Expedition to the mountain,
led by Brigadier General C.G. Bruce, following the
same route reconnoitered the previous year. George
Mallory returns along with climbers George Finch,
Geoffrey Bruce, Henry Morshead, Edward Norton, Howard
Somervell, and John Noel as expedition filmmaker. On
May 22nd, Mallory, Norton, Somervell and Morshead make
the first assault, and climb to 26,800 feet (8170 m)
on the North Ridge before retreating. On May 23rd,
George Finch and Geoffrey Bruce climb up the North
Ridge and Face to 27,300 (8320 meters) feet using
oxygen. On June 7th, Mallory leads a third attempt on
the summit that claims the lives of seven Sherpa
climbers in an avalanche below the North Col, the
first reported deaths on Everest.
While on a lecture tour in the United States, a
reporter asks Mallory why he wants to climb Everest,
and Mallory immortally replies "Because it's there".
The Third British Everest Expedition to the mountain,
led by Acting Leader Lt. Colonel Edward Norton after
Brigadier General C.G. Bruce is indisposed due to a
flare-up of malaria. As a result George Mallory is
promoted to Climbing Leader. Geoffrey Bruce, Howard
Somervell, and John Noel return from the previous
year, along with newcomers Noel E. Odell and Andrew
June 4th: After weeks of appalling weather, a string
of camps are established on the northern side of the
mountain, culminating in Camp 6 at 26,700 feet (8140
meters) on the North Ridge. Norton and Somervell
attempt an oxygenless ascent, following an ascending
diagonal line across the North Face of the mountain
towards the Great Couloir. After Somervell is forced
to give up at about 28,000 feet (8500 meters), Norton
continues alone, reaching a high point of 28,126 feet
(8570 meters) near the top of the Great Couloir, a
height record not exceeded by anyone for the next 29
June 8th: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine attempt the
summit using oxygen and Irvine's modified oxygen
apparatus. Noel Odell, climbing in support below,
catches a glimpse of the climbers at 12:50 pm
ascending a "great rock step" on the NE Ridge above.
According to Odell they were behind schedule but
climbing "with alacrity"; the first of many climbers
on Everest to go for the summit too late. Odell
originally thought he spotted the two climbers
ascending the Second Step, but later changed his mind
to the First Step when told how difficult the Second
Step looked to a later generation of Everest climbers
(the 1933 British Expedition). During the 1933
expedition, Andrew Irvine's ice ax is found on the
upper slopes of the mountain at about 27,690 feet
(8440 meters) and approximately 250 yards (meters)
east of the First Step. Eric Simonson's 1999 Mallory &
Irvine Research Expedition discovers an oxygen bottle
that belonged to the pair near the base of the First
Step, and Mallory's remains were found at 26,750 feet
(8150 meters), on a line vertically below the ice ax
position. No evidence of a successful summit bid has
been found, nor have any signs of the two climbers
been found above the Second Step, the key to the
route. Despite the lack of hard evidence, the debate
on whether they reached the summit of Everest
continues to this day.
March 19: The Mount Everest Committee is
re-established with Sir William Goodenough as Chair.
Concerned of the growing reputation of American and
German climbers - the latter having gained much
experience on Kangchenjunga - the Committee makes
inquiries into the possibility of another British
expedition to Everest. Eventually the Dalai Lama gives
"reluctant permission" so that "friendly relations may
not be ruptured".
April 3: First flight over Mount Everest by two
British Westland biplanes powered by turbocharged
Pegasus engines. The planes take off from Purneah,
India. Buffeted by downdrafts and Everest's plume, the
flight fails to obtain a photo of the summit when the
photographer blacks out due to a ruptured oxygen line.
The flight is successfully repeated on April 19th,
although the actual summit wasn't flown over this
The Fourth British Expedition. A new generation of
climbers attempts Everest under the Leadership of Hugh
Ruttledge. These new climbers include Jack Longland,
Frank Smythe, Eric Shipton, P. Wyn Harris, and L.R.
Wager. Along with a powerful and spirited team of
Sherpa "Tigers", Camp 6 is established on a ledge
half-way up the Yellow Band at a height of 27,300 feet
(8320 meters) - the Sherpas wanted to continue higher
to a campsite at the base of the First Step, but it is
wisely decided that they would not get back to the
North Col before dark. Longland leads the Sherpas back
down, but they are caught in a fierce and unexpected
storm. Longland manages to keep his bearings and keeps
the party en route down the spine of the North Arete.
During the descent they discover the remains of the
1924 Camp 6, and even find a working battery-operated
torch in the debris.
30th: The first oxygenless summit attempt by Wyn
Harris and Wager. Their plan is to reconnoiter
Mallory's ridge route, and if not feasible, attempt
Norton's Great Couloir route instead. Early in the
ascent they find Andrew Irvine's ice ax at 27,690 feet
(8440 meters), some 250 yards (meters) east of the
First Step. The pair continues traversing below the NE
Ridge, but are unable to gain the Ridge via a shallow
gully below the Second Step, having missed their only
chance to gain the Ridge by ascending a 4th class
gully on the north side of the First Step. They
continue traversing into and across the Great Couloir,
and manage to reach Norton's high point before
1st: A second oxygenless attempt is made by Eric
Shipton and Frank Smythe. In a truly superhuman
effort, they make an attempt after spending two
nights in the Death Zone without oxygen waiting for
good weather. They follow essentially the same
ascending line taken by Wyn Harris and Wager to the
base of the First Step, but continue along Norton's
traversing Great Couloir route. Shipton is forced to
give up a little past the First Step, and Smythe
continues alone, crossing the Great Couloir somewhat
lower down than his predecessors where the ledges were
more favorable. Smythe too gives up at Norton's high
point, so the 1933 Expedition ends up unsuccessful.
The eccentric Maurice Wilson attempts to solo Everest,
having no mountaineering experience but possessing an
inner faith to succeed. Camped at the base of the
North Col, Wilson asks his Sherpas to wait ten days
for him to return, after which they would be free to
leave. He doesn't return, so the Sherpas return to
Darjeeling, where Tenzing Norgay reports seeing them
with large amounts of money. Wilson's body is later
found at approximately 21,000 feet (6400 meters) below
the North Col by members of the 1935 Reconnaissance
Expedition. He was found in the remains of his tent;
apparently he had died while in the act of taking off
his boots. How far did he get? No one knows... His
body was buried in a crevasse and it periodically
resurfaces over the years as the East Rongbuk Glacier
continues its steady advance downhill.
Fifth British Expedition (Reconnaissance). A small
post-monsoon expedition led by Eric Shipton, that was
Tenzing Norgay's first trip to the mountain as a young
porter. Expedition members include Bill Tilman, Dr.
C.B.M. Warren, E.G.H. Kempson, L.V. Bryant, and E.H.L.
Wigram. The expedition concentrates on exploring,
surveying, and climbing in the Everest region (where
off in the distance they can see that Everest is in
perfect condition to climb). The party doesn't reach
Rongbuk until early July, where coated in monsoon
snow, the mountain is out of condition to climb.
Nevertheless, since investigating the possibility of a
post-monsoon attempt is one of the charges of the
reconnaissance, they establish Camp III at the base of
the North Col, where they find the remains of Maurice
Wilson. On July 12 they reach the North Col with
enough supplies for two weeks. Continuous monsoon
snows prevent any further advance up the mountain, so
the expedition splits into several groups that engage
in an orgy of climbing and exploring in the region
before returning to Darjeeling.
Sixth British Expedition with Hugh Ruttledge returning
as Leader. Also returning to Everest are Frank Smythe,
Eric Shipton, P. Wyn Harris, E.G.H. Kempson, Dr. C.B.M.
Warren, and E.H.L. Wigram along with two newcomers,
P.R. Oliver and J.M.L. Gavin. Tenzing Norgay returns
for his second expedition as a porter. For the first
time, lightweight radio sets are taken to Everest. A
large, strong, and experienced expedition with many
hopes of reaching the top, it failed because of the
early onset of the monsoon on May 25th. Interestingly
enough, the only two expeditions to Everest that had a
late monsoon were the '21 and '35 Reconnaissance!
Seventh British Expedition. Led by Bill Tilman who
advocated smaller, less expensive expeditions
(although he is convinced to bring four oxygen sets
along). Accompanying Tilman are Eric Shipton, Frank
Smythe, C.B.M. Warren, P. Floyd, P.R. Oliver, and Noel
Odell from the tragic 1924 expedition. Odell is now 47
years old, but extremely fit after climbing Nanda Devi
in 1936 with Tilman. Returning yet again as a porter
is the persistent Tenzing Norgay. Remembering the
early onset of the monsoon suffered by the 1936
expedition, they arrive at Rongbuk early on April 6th
and surprisingly find the mountain already clear of
winter snow. Three weeks later Camp III is established
below the North Col, but the weather is too cold and
the party too ill to continue. They retreat to the
Kharta Valley to recuperate at the lower altitude.
When they returned to Everest a week later, the
monsoon had unbelievably broken on May 5th and the
mountain was covered in snow. Nevertheless a camp is
placed on the North Col, and then Camp 6 is
established on a scree slope below the Yellow Band at
27,200 feet (8290 meters). In back-to-back assaults,
Smythe and Shipton are turned back by the deep snow,
as are Tilman and Lloyd the next day. The expedition
fails, but it had proved that a small expedition could
place climbers in position for a serious summit bid.
A successor to the old Everest Committee is formed -
the Himalayan Committee of the Alpine Club and Royal
Canadian-born Brit Earl Denman attempts to illegally
climb Everest from the North along with Sherpas Ang
Dawa and Tenzing Norgay, the latter back after nine
years for his fourth attempt on the mountain. After
nearly being arrested by a Tibetan patrol en route,
the trio reach the Rongbuk Monastery. Using Denman's
woefully inadequate equipment, and suffering terribly
from the cold, they reach the foot of the North Col
but in a terribly weakened condition. After a feeble
attempt on the lower slopes of the Col, they admit
defeat and turn back. Denman is forced to walk part of
the way back to Darjeeling in bare feet after his
boots wear out. Amazingly the whole 600-plus mile
(1000 km) roundtrip from Darjeeling to Everest and
back took only five weeks by foot.
In October the Communist Chinese invade Tibet, and
Tibet falls under Chinese rule. Everest expeditions
from the North are prohibited.
After a palace revolution in which the ruling Rana
family are overthrown, Nepal opens up to the West,
partially as a result of the Chinese takeover in
Tibet. Foreign expeditions are allowed access to the
southern side of Everest for the first time.
Anglo-American Nepal Reconnaissance. Organized and led
by the American Dr. Charles Houston and including Bill
Tilman. The group enters the Solu Khumbu region -
homeland of the Sherpas - and explores to the base of
the Khumbu Icefall. Tilman concludes that the route up
into the Western Cwm is not a viable one!
Without official permission from Nepal, and only a few
months after the 1950 Anglo-American Nepal
Reconnaissance, the Dane Klavs Becker-Larsen attempts
to climb the Northern pre-war Everest route but via a
southern approach. With a party of Sherpa porters and
guides, he attempts to enter Tibet via the Lho La, and
actually climbs about halfway up before being turned
back by rockfall and his lack of experience (it was
the first time he had ever used an ice ax!).
Undeterred, Larsen crosses the Nampa La instead and
reaches the Rongbuk Monastery. Several days later
Larsen and two Sherpas attempt to climb the North Col
but turn back after yet more rockfall. Larsen wisely
gives up the attempt and returns to Nepal.
British Reconnaissance supported by the Alpine Club
and the Royal Geographic Society. A post-monsoon
exploration led by Eric Shipton with M.P. Ward, T.
Bourdillon, W.H. Murray, and New Zealanders Edmund
Hillary and H. Riddiford, the expedition was forced to
contend with swollen streams, washed-out bridges,
leeches, and reluctant porters. On the 22nd of
September they reached Namche Bazaar, and three days
later left with the objective of scaling the Khumbu
Icefall and entering the Western Cwm. From a
vantagepoint on the lower slopes of Pumori, they could
see that the route up to the South Col looked
feasible. Eventually the expedition pushed the route
almost completely through to the top of the Icefall
Swiss Expeditions sponsored by the Swiss Foundation
for Alpine Research
Spring Attempt: led by Dr. E. Wyss-Dunant with
climbers G. Chevalley, R. Lambert, R. Dittert, L.
Flory, R. Aubert, A. Roch, J. Asper, E. Hofstetter,
and Tenzing Norgay as Sirdar. The party ascends the
Geneva Spur and places Camp VI on the South Col. Camp
VII is placed at approximately 27,500 feet (8382
meters) on the SE Ridge. After a miserable night
without sleeping bags or a stove, Tenzing Norgay and
Raymond Lambert make an attempt using oxygen but fail
below the South Summit at an altitude of 28,210 feet
(8595 meters), beating Norton's height record by only
84 feet (25 meters)!
Post-Monsoon Attempt: led by G. Chevalley with
climbers R. Lambert, E. Reiss, J. Buzio, A. Spohel, G.
Gross, N.G. Dyhrenfurth. The indomitable Tenzing
returns again as expedition Sirdar. Instead of
climbing the Geneva Spur, the route is pushed up the
Lhotse Face instead, now the standard route.
Unfortunately the expedition is fraught with bad luck
and the Sherpa Mingma Dorje is killed on the Lhotse
Face by falling ice, the first Everest fatality in
twenty years since Maurice Wilson. Climbing along with
the same party, incredibly a second rope slips on the
ice and falls 600 feet (180 meters) to the bottom of
the slope. Miraculously no one else is injured. A camp
is established on the South Col, but the arrival of
winter's bitter cold and fierce gales puts an end to
the attempt. The expedition lays the groundwork for
Rumors of a post-monsoon Russian attempt from the
North led by Dr. Pawel Datschnolian, possibly with the
hope of beating the Swiss to the top and scoring major
propaganda points in an age of Sputnik. There are
reports that this expedition left Moscow on October
16th and eventually placed Camp VII at 26,800 feet
(8170 meters) before six climbers (including
Datschnolian) simply disappeared. The Russians deny
the expedition ever took place and the Chinese have
never made any mention of it. Interestingly enough, in
an interview with the Tibetan Gonbu (also known as
Gonpa), a member of the successful 1960 Chinese first
ascent of the North Ridge, a "mystery camp" was
encountered at 27,900 feet (8500 meters). Located
above the Yellow Band, this camp could not have been
placed there by any of the British pre-war
expeditions. Was the camp placed there by this
"mystery" Soviet expedition?
British Expedition and FIRST SUMMIT. Led by Colonel
John Hunt and consisting of climbers Dr. R.C. Evans,
G. Band, T. Bourdillon, A. Gregory, Edmund Hillary,
W.G. Lowe, C. Noyce, M.P. Ward, M. Westmacott, and C.G.
Wylie. Returning as Sirdar from the Swiss attempts is
yet again Tenzing Norgay. The route through the
Icefall is completed by April 22, Camp VI is
established at the foot of the Lhotse face at 23,000
feet (7000 meters), and after a lengthy delay, the
South Col is reached via the Lhotse Face route
pioneered by the Swiss the year before.
26: First Assault by Evans and Bourdillon from the
South Col using closed-circuit oxygen sets. The same
day Hunt leads a party of Sherpas from the South Col
with the intent to establish Camp IX on the SE Ridge
for the second assault party consisting of Hillary and
Tenzing. Evans and Bourdillon reach the South Summit
at 1 PM at an elevation of 28,750 feet (8770 meters),
but are forced to descend due to the lateness of the
hour, strong winds, and lack of oxygen.
29: Second Assault by Hillary and Tenzing using
open-circuit oxygen sets. They leave Camp IX at
approximately 27,900 feet (8500 meters) by 6:30 AM,
and reach the S. Summit by 9 AM. After negotiating the
40 foot (12 meter) Hillary Step, they are the first to
reach the summit of Everest, reaching the top at 11:30
AM. After descending to the South Col, they are met by
George Lowe where Hillary states: "Well, George, we
knocked the bastard off!"
The height of Everest is adjusted by 26 feet to 29,028
feet (8848 meters).
Swiss Everest/Lhotse Expedition led by A. Eggler with
W. Diehl, H. Grimm, Dr E. Leuchtold, F. Luchsinger, J.
Marmet, F. Muller, E. Reiss, A. Reist, E. Schmied, H.
Von Gunten and Sirdar Pasang Dawa Lama. The South Col
was reached by the middle of May, and a successful
summit bid was done on Lhotse via the very difficult
North ridge on May 18 by Reiss and Von Gunten. On May
23 from a high camp at 27,500 feet (8400 meters) on
the SE Ridge, Schmied and Marmet reach the summit. The
following day Reist and Von Gunten also reach the
Joint Chinese/Russian reconnaissance from the North
that reaches 21,000 feet (6,400 meters) below the
North Col. The plan was for the two countries to
return later for a joint assault, but this expedition
never materialized after relations between the two
Chinese and Tibetan team of 214 men and women, led by
Shih Chan- chun, makes the first summit of Everest via
the North Col and Northeast Ridge. Long doubted by
Western mountaineers because of the lack of a summit
photo and the claim of summiting at night, the photos
and film the Chinese did release reveal that they at
least climbed the Second Step, the key to the route
(although Reinhold Messner claims he possesses
documentation proving they didn't climb it, so far
this evidence has not been produced). The final
assault party of Wang Fu-chou, Liu Lien-man, Chu
Yin-hua, and the Tibetan Gonbu (also known as Gonpa)
assaulted the final 15 foot (5 meter) Second Step
headwall using pitons and team tactics. After Liu
Lien- man repeatedly falls off attempting to lead the
pitch, Chu Yin-hua takes off his boots and socks, and
using a shoulder stand climbs the
last vertical pitch in bare feet! Exhausted by his
effort, Liu Lien- man is forced to halt at 28,600 feet
(8,700 meters), but the remaining three climbers make
it to the summit where they purportedly leave a
plaster bust of Chairman Mao by a rock outcrop.
First Indian Expedition led by Brigadier G. Singh.
Climbers Capt. N. Kumar, Sonam Gyatso, and Sherpa
Nawang Gombu reach 28,300 feet (8625 meters) just
below the South Summit before retreating in a violent
storm and driving snow.
Illegal four-man expedition led by the American
Woodrow Wilson Sayre following the pre-war British
route up the North Col and NE Ridge. Possessing a
permit to climb Gyanchung Kang from the Nepalese side,
the party ascends the Ngozumpa Icefall with Sherpa
support, but then surreptitiously crosses the Nup La
into Tibet. Without porters and relying on a grueling
schedule of load-shuttling that covers the same ground
three times daily, the group reaches the base of the
North Col in nineteen days. They climb the North Col,
but a fall lands Sayre and partner Roger Hart in a
crevasse where they survive the night by wrapping
themselves up in a tent. Undeterred, Sayre and Norman
Hansen set off the very next day up the North Ridge,
but can only climb 1,200 feet (400 meters) in the next
two days. Realizing that they are beaten, they turn
back but Sayre slips and falls 600 feet (200 meters)
down the North Ridge snowfield before stopping.
Incredibly, the now emaciated and half-starved
expedition is able to return back over the Nup La into
Nepal without encountering Chinese patrols.
Second Indian Expedition with Major John Dias as
leader. Returning to the SE Ridge route, climbers
Sonam Gyatso, Hari Dang, and Mohan Kohli are forced to
retreat from a high point of 28,600 feet (8720 meters)
because of bad weather.
American Expedition with Norman Dyhrenfurth as leader
and including A. Auten, Barry Bishop, Jake Breitenbach,
J. Corbet, D. Dingman, D. Doody, R. Emerson, Tom
Hornbein, Lute Jerstad, J. Lester, Willi Unsoeld, and
Jim Whittaker. A huge expedition, costing almost
$400,000 and supported by the National Geographic
Society, over 900 porters carry 29 tons of food and
equipment to the base of the mountain. Base Camp is
established at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall on Mar
21 and the route through the icefall prepared soon
after. Jake Breitenbach is killed by collapsing seracs
in the Icefall but the expedition continues. The
expedition splits into two parties - the West Ridgers
and the South Collers.
Assault: May 1 From Camp 6 at 27,450 feet (8370
meters) on the SE Ridge, Jim Whittaker and Sherpa
Nawang Gombu reach the summit in strong winds at 1 PM.
Whittaker becomes the first American to summit
Second Assault: After a tent at Camp 4W - including
occupants - is nearly blown off the West Shoulder by
hurricane force winds, Camp 5W is placed in the
Hornbien Couloir at the foot of the Yellow Band at
27,250 feet (8300 meters). Tom Hornbein and Willi
Unsoeld squeeze their way through the couloir and
ascend a 60 foot (20 meter) headwall before emerging
onto the upper summit pyramid at 27,900 feet (8500
meters). The pair then traverse across to the West
Ridge proper, reaching the summit at 6:15 PM. They are
forced to descend the SE Ridge where they meet Jerstad
and Bishop who had summited at 3:30 PM. The four men
descend to around 28,000 feet (8500 meters) before
having to bivouac for the night on the ridge proper.
They survive a long, cold night out in the open and
descend safely to the South Col the next day. Unsoeld
later loses most of his toes to frostbite. The first
new route and the first traverse of Everest.
Third Indian Expedition, with Commander M.S Kohli as
leader. On May 20, 1965 they succeed when A.S. Cheema
and Sherpa Nawang Gombu ascend the SE Ridge. Gombu
becomes the first person to summit Everest twice (the
11th and 17th summit). Out of the first seventeen
summits of Everest, Nawang had two of them! Additional
summits were achieved by Sonam Gyatso, Sonam Wangyal,
C.P. Vohra, Ang Kami, H.P.S. Ahluwalia, H.C.S. Rawat,
and Phu Dorje.
1966-1969: Nepal is closed to mountaineering during
this politically tense period involving antagonists
India and China.
Japanese SW Face Reconnaissance Expeditions. In the
Spring, a party including Naomi Uemura enters the
Western Cwm and probes the lower slopes. The Japanese
return in the autumn with Uemura and Masatsugu Konishi,
and the route is pushed up the Central Gully to the
base of the Rock Band before the expedition returns
home, convinced that a full-scale expedition could
Japanese SW Face
Expedition led by the seventy-year old veteran Saburo
Matsukata. A massive expedition with 39 climbers,
seventy-seven Sherpas and a woman, Setsuko Watanabe.
Unable to improve on the previous year's
reconnaissance efforts due to poor snow conditions and
rockfall, the expedition switches to the standard
South Col route. Teruo Matsuura and Naomi Uemura reach
the summit on May 11, followed by K. Hirabayashi and
Chottare Sherpa on the next day. Watanabe sets an
altitude record for women by climbing to the South
Japanese Ski Expedition. Climbing along with the SW
Face expedition, Yuichiro Miura skis from the South
Col to the bottom of the Lhotse Face on May 6.
Reaching speeds of 100 mph (160 kph), Miura slows
himself with a parachute but loses control after
hitting some rocks. He slides unconscious about 600
feet (200 meters) down the icy slopes, and fortunately
stops just short of a huge crevasse.
International Expedition. Norman Dyhrenfurth leads an
expedition with thirty climbers from thirteen
different countries including Don Whillans, Dougal
Haston, Naomi Uemura, Pierre Mazeaud, and H. Bahuguna.
This optimistic expedition hopes to simultaneously
climb the SW Face and the West Ridge Direct, but is
fraught with one- upsmanship, personality conflicts,
and organizational problems. Bahuguna is caught out in
a storm at Camp 3W. A rescue party climbs up to help
him and he is found clipped onto the fixed ropes,
missing a glove, his bare midriff exposed to the
storm, and his face coated in ice. When it proves
impossible to move him horizontally, they try to lower
him vertically into the shelter of a crevasse, but the
rope runs out before they can reach it a la Tony Kurtz
on the Eiger Nordwald. Whillans utters his famous
remark, "Sorry Harsh old son, you've had it." The
expedition falters after his death, but Whillans and
Haston push the SW Face route to 27,400 feet (8,350
meters) before lack of equipment forces an end to the
Argentine Post-Monsoon Expedition. A post-monsoon
expedition where J. Peterek and U. Vitale reach 26,600
feet (8,100 meters) before being defeated by high
winds and an unfavorable weather forecast.
European Expedition to the SW Face led by Dr. Karl
Herrligkoffer and including climbers Don Whillans,
Doug Scott, Hamish MacInnes, Felix Kuen, Adolf Huber,
Werner Haim, and Leo Breitenberger. The expedition is
plagued by personality conflicts and the withdrawal of
many of the climbers, but the route is pushed as high
as 27,200 feet (8,300 meters) before the attempt is
British SW Face Expedition led by Chris Bonington
including climbers Mick Burke, Nick Estcourt, Dougal
Haston, K. Kent, Hamish MacInnes, Tony Tighe, and Doug
Scott. A post-monsoon expedition confronted with
terrible weather, an elevation of 27,200 feet (8,300
meters) is reached below the Rock Band before
retreating. Tragically, Tony Tighe is killed in the
Icefall during the descent.
Italian Expedition. Another huge expedition with
sixty-four members led by Guido Monzino. Helicopters
are used to shuttle equipment past the Khumbu Icefall
and one hundred Sherpas are also employed. Eight
climbers succeed via the South Col Route, including 16
Sambhu Tamang of Nepal. It is later revealed that
Sambhu was actually 18. Italian Summiters were
Virginio Epis, and
Japanese Expedition. Led by Michio Yuasa, this large
forty- eight man expedition attempted both the SW Face
and South Col route. The SW Face party reaches 27,200
feet (8,300 meters) before giving up. Success is
achieved on the South Col route when Hisahi Ishiguro
and Yasuo Kato reach the summit, the first
post-monsoon success on the mountain.
Spanish Expedition attempts the South Col route. A
high camp is placed on the SE Ridge, and twice teams
were in position for a summit attempt, but both times
are defeated by high winds. The second summit team
manages to reach 27,900 feet (8,500 meters) before
French West Ridge Expedition. Led by Gerald
Devouassoux, a post- monsoon attempt to climb the West
Ridge Direct starting from the Lho La. Because of
political considerations, they don't climb the slopes
leading up to the Lho La directly, but start from the
base of the Khumbu Icefall; the expedition eventually
reaches the West Shoulder by September 9. A major
lapse in monitoring weather reports prevents them from
learning that an unexpected return of warm monsoon
weather is about to occur. The tragic result is that
Gerald Devouassoux and five Sherpas are swept away in
an immense avalanche, after which the expedition is
Japanese Ladies Expedition led by Mrs Eiko Hisana. On
May 16 Junko Tabei of Japan became the first woman to
reach the summit via the South-East Ridge.
Chinese Expedition led by Shih Chan-chun, leader of
the 1960 Chinese ascent, and organized by a "Party
Committee" that included Wang Fu-chou, one of the 1960
summiters. A military-style expedition that uses
soldiers to carry supplies to the North Col and siege
tactics to progressively reposition camps higher and
higher up the mountain. A final assault camp is
established between the First and Second Steps at
28,500 feet (8,680 meters) by the Mushroom Rock, and
the Second Step is prepared with an aluminum ladder to
overcome the final vertical headwall pitch. A team of
nine climbers - eight
Tibetan and one Chinese - reaches the summit on May
27, including the Tibetan woman, Phantog. Phantog
becomes the second woman to summit Everest, losing
this honor to Junko Tabei by only a few days. She is
the first woman to summit from the Tibetan side.
British SW Face Expedition (post-monsoon). Leader
Chris Bonington and including H. MacInnes, Peter
Boardman, Martin Boysen, P. Braithwaite, Micke Burke,
M. Cheney, C. Clarke, Nick Estcourt, Dougal Haston,
and Doug Scott. Base Camp is reached on August 22 and
Advance Base is established on September 2. The
expedition is blessed with good weather and smooth
logistics, resulting in the steady placement of camps
up the Central Gully to Camp 5 at 25,500 feet (7800
meters). The Rock Band is ascended via a gully on the
left side by Estcourt and Braithwaite, who have some
sporty moments when their oxygen runs out on dicey
pitches at 27,000 feet (8200 meters). The upper
icefield is reached via an awkward outward-sloping
ramp; Haston and Scott establish Camp 6 a few days
later at an elevation of 27,300 feet (8300 meters).
The next day they fix 1,500 feet of rope on the upper
snowfield, extending the route towards a gully leading
up to the South Summit.
Assault: Sept 24: Haston and Scott reach the South
Summit at 3 PM after 11 hours of climbing. After
preparing a snow cave and drinking a brew, they
continue on to the summit which they reach at 6 PM.
They descend to the South Summit and bivouac in the
snowcave. After a freezing, oxygenless night complete
with hypoxic conversations with feet, toes, and
imaginary companions, the pair descend to Camp 6
safely, passing the second assault party on their way
Second Assault: Sept 26: Boardman and Sirdar Pertemba
reach the summit and descend in a gathering storm,
where they encounter Mick Burke just below the summit.
They wait for him as long as possible before
descending, but Burke is never seen alive again. He
probably made the top but fell off of the heavily
corniced summit ridge while descending in the
First Ascent without bottled oxygen: Peter Habeler
Reinhold Messner (Italy) 5/8/78 via the South-East
The first European woman and the third woman to summit
Wanda Rutkiewicz, reaches the top. Wanda goes on
to become known as the greatest woman climber ever.
The first woman, Hannelore Schmatz, dies on Everest
descending from the Summit after becoming only the 4th
woman to Summit Everest.
China opens up the north side (Tibet) again to western
Andrej Stremfeli and Nejc Zaplotnik Summit via the
true West ridge and descend via the Hornbein Couloir
First Winter ascent
Wielicki (Poland) 2/17/80
Reinhold Messner (Italy) 8/20/80 via the North Col
to the North Face and the Great Couloir. He climbed
for three days entirely alone from his base camp at
6500 meters without the use of artificial oxygen via
the North Col/North Face route.
Laurie Skreslet first Canadian to reach the Summit.
Lou Reichardt, Kim Momb, and Carlos Buhler reached the
Summit via the East or Kangshung face on 10/8/83.
Tim Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer reached the
Summit via the North Couloir.
Marc Batard, a Frenchman, sets the speed record on
Everest on the South East ridge route from EBC to the
Summit in 22.5 hours.
The First American Woman, Stacey Allison reaches the
Summit of Everest.
First Married Couple to summit together: Andrej &
Marija Stremfelj (Slovenia), 10/7/90.
First Son of a summiter to Summit Everest: Peter
Hillary (New Zealand) 5/10/90
First father and son to summit together: Jean Noel
Roche and his son Roche Bertrand aka Zebulon. They
flew together on a tandem paraglider from the south
Col. They landed at base camp on the 7th of October
1990. Roche Bertrand was 17 at the time and became the
youngest person to ever climb Everest at the time.
First case of two brothers to reach the Summit
together: Alberto and Felix Inurrategui September 25,
The first Nepalese woman, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, summits
Everest but dies descending from the Summit on
The first ascent of the Northeast Ridge, completed by
Kiyoshi Furuno (Japan), Shigeki Imoto (Japan), Dawa
Tshering Sherpa, Pasang Sherpa, and Nima Sherpa.
George Mallory, grandson of George Leigh Mallory,
reaches the Summit of Everest.
15 die on Everest, the most in a single year,
including the most successful guide of his time, the
great climber Rob Hall.
Ang Rita Sherpa (born 1947), Summits Everest for the
all ascents without bottled oxygen.)
The first ascent of the North-Northeast couloir by
Peter Kuznetzov, Valeri Kohanov and Grigori
Semikolenkov on 5/20/96.
North Side: Fastest Ascent via the standard North
Col-north ridge-north face Route: Hans Kammerlander
(Italian) 5/24/96, 16 hours 45 minutes from base camp.
He left BC at 6400 meters at 5pm on May 23, 1996 and
was on the Summit 16 hours 45 minutes later at 9:45am
the next day. He descended most of the route on skis.
On May 12, 1999:
Sarkisov (2/12/38) became the oldest man to summit
Everest. His record was later broken, but Lev is a
special person. Lev, from Georgia, was 60years,
161 days young when he reached the Summit.
May 6, 1999:
Chiri Sherpa spent 21 hours and 30 minutes on the
Summit of Everest.
George Mallory's body is found by and expedition lead
by Eric Simonson. The mystery remains unanswered.
The National Geographic Society revised the elevation
of Everest to 29,035 feet (8850 meters). Nepal does
not accept the revised elevation.
New Speed Record Nepal Side:
Chiri Sherpa; from Everest base camp to the Summit
via the South East ridge in 16 hours and 56 minutes on
May 21st, 2000.
Sherpa Summits for the 11th time.
Oldest woman: Anna Czerwinska (born 7/10/49) climbed
Everest from Nepal side on 5/22/2000.
First true Ski descent:
and his wife Claire Bernier Roche flew together on
a tandem paraglider from the North side Summit of
Everest. The paraglider arrived at ABC 8 minutes
later...This first husband and wife to fly from the
Summit together !
the first to Snowboard from the Summit of Everest.
Siffredi on his Snowboard
completed the first-ever descent of Everest on a
snowboard from the Summit to ABC.
2001: At 16
Temba Tsheri Sherpa become the youngest person to
Sherman Bull, at age 64, is the oldest person to
summit Mount Everest.
Erik Weihenmayer becomes the first ever blind person
to Summit Everest.
Yuichiro Miura Summited Everest at 70 to become the
oldest man to reach the Summit. He summited with his
son. Gota Miura.
American Gary Guller become the first person with only
one arm to Summit Everest.
George Dijmarescu Summits Everest five times from the
North in FIVE YEARS!
Apa Sherpa Summits Everest for a record 13th time.
The Chinese Broadcast LIVE from the Summit of Everest
the youngest American to Summit Everest
Babu's Sherpa Speed ascent record is broken
Three Brothers Summit Everest on the same day
2003: And more to
Summits and deaths
Quest for 8000 with many stats on 8000 meter peaks
Check EverestHistory.com for much
more than is listed here...