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.
May 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.
May 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!"
Sir Edmund Hillary and
his wife at the 50th annivervity celbration in Nepal May 2003 copyrightęFrits