The South Asian Life & Times - SALT   
  Summer 2013          



 Summer 2013


Editor's Note


 Adventure & Sport
 Celebrating Everest

 Everest Turns 60
 The First Ascent

 The Summit Route

 Five Ultimate Everest

 The Sherpas

 Apa Sherpa-21 Times
 on Everest

 100 Years of Indian

 Early Pioneers

 Satyajit Ray

 Mani Kaul

 Dr A T Ariyaratne

 Lt Gen Jack Jacob

 Tara Bhattacharjee

 Ashok Vajpeyi 

Into Thin Air

 Coronation Everest

 Odyssey in War &












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 The Five Ultimate Everest Climbers

What these five climbers share is not only their enthusiasm and energy for the mountain. They share the testing of their limits. They overcame unforeseen difficulties and unknown dangers. Their climbs on Everest were almost epic.

George Mallory – “Because it’s there”

1886 -1924

One of the best climbers of the 1920s, George Mallory died climbing on Everest in 1924. He was 38 at the time.

George Leigh Mallory was perhaps Britain's most famous mountaineer. He was obsessed with a mountain he had never seen – Everest. When the Royal Geographical Society of England announced an expedition to the Everest in 1921, Mallory was very enthusiastic about it and was selected as a team member. The first seven Mount Everest Expeditions, undertaken between 1921 and 1938, were all attempted from the north side of Everest, from the Tibetan side. Nepal, at the time, did not allow foreigners to explore it mountains. These early expeditions attempted to ascend Everest from the North Col.


Eric Shipton: Great Everest Explorer

1907 - 1977

Eric Shipton was the first to open the Everest region to climbing expeditions from the southern side in Nepal. One of the greatest mountain explorers of the twentieth century, Shipton was a team-member on all four Everest expeditions during the 1930s and established, in 1951, the route that Hillary and Tenzing would follow to the top of the world.  Mount Everest was unknown and uncharted territory until Shipton found the route up the Khumbu Icefall. Earlier, in 1933 he and Smthye had climbed to the First Step on the Northeast Ridge at 8,400 meters before turning back. He should have led the historical ascent of 1953, but was not included in the expedition.


Sir Edmund Hillary: Everest First Ascent

1920 -2008

The modest, humble, and unassuming Sir Edmund Hillary was a devoted mountaineer from New Zealand who made the first ascent of Mount Everest together with Tenzing Norgay on May 29, 1953. He had first travelled to the Himalaya in 1951 as part of an expedition led by Eric Shipton that explored the Khumbu icefall. Two years later he was part of the ninth British Everest Expedition where he was paired up with Tenzing for a summit bid by the expedition leader Col John Hunt. The two men became the first humans to stand on top of the world's tallest mountain on May 29, 1953. Hillary wrote of their final few steps to the top of the world: "Another few weary steps and there was nothing above us but the sky. There was no false cornice, no final pinnacle. We were standing together on the summit. There was enough space for about six people. We had conquered Everest.”


Tenzing Norgay:   Everest, First Aascent

1914 - 1986

Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa from Nepal and an Indian by domicile, was the first to stand on top of the world that fateful day on 29 May 1953 – together with Edmund Hillary. It was a life-changing moment for Tenzing. He became an icon, a hero, and symbol of Sherpa contribution to Himalayan climbing. Their celebrity status has outlived them.

This was Tenzing’s seventh Everest expedition. In 1952 he was part of a Swiss team that included legendary alpinist Raymond Lambert, who had pioneered the route up the steep Lhotse Face and reached the South Col. Tenzing and Lambert climbed to 28,210 feet (8,598 meters) on the Southeast Ridge —perhaps the highest anyone had ever been.

Reinhold Messner: Rock Star of Mountaineering

Born 1944

Tyrolean Reinhold Messner is one of the greatest Mount Everest climbers. Full of new ideas and new techniques, Messner has set new standards in mountaineering.  With his characteristic high-altitude alpine-style climbing, he believed nothing was “impossible.” Together with Peter Habeler, he made the revolutionary first ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen in 1978. Two years later, in 1980, he made the first solo ascent of Everest, and also discovered a new route up the North Face.

Born in the Italian province of South Tyrol, Reinhold was five years old when he made his first summit, climbing some 3,000 feet up a peak in the Geislerspitzen.  “We had no football place in the valley . . . we had no swimming pool—and the only possibility to do something to express ourselves was to go on the rocks. So we learned very early." There was no looking back. Messner climbed Nanga Parbat in 1970 with his younger brother Günther, but tragedy struck when his brother died during the descent.


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