Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Conquest Of Everest

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On this day in 1953 New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first known people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, also known as Chomolungma; the mountain is frequently cited as the highest in the world, and indeed its summit is the highest land elevation above sea level. It was named for George Everest, at one time the surveyor-general of India*.

Hillary and Norgay attained the summit at 11:30 AM local time and, most importantly, they later made a safe descent. There has been debate in the mountaineering community whether George Mallory and Andrew Irvine had in fact beaten them to the summit 29 years earlier; if they did they certainly never lived to tell about it.

News of the conquest of Mount Everest reached London on the morning of Elizabeth II's coronation, whipping the already ecstatic crowds into an even greater frenzy.

*As his name was pronounced Eee-verest, that is more correctly how the mountain's adopted name should be pronounced; it just isn't.
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