June 2002 Contents
Super Achievers & Success
at Every Alien Door'
– celebrating 50th year of conquest
The North Pole was reached in 1909, the South Pole in 1911. But, Mt. Everest, then termed the Third Pole, had defied all attempts until May 29, 1953 when Hillary and Tenzing traversed what the New Zealander described as a "symmetrical, beautiful snow-cone summit".
Many had perished on the snowy ranges of the Everest before Tenzing and Hillary made history. In 1924 George Mallory and Sandy Irvine were killed by a deadly avalanche. No one really knows how far they were from the peak. The body of George Mallory was found in 1999.
Every year thousands try to climb the peak, each time trying a different, more difficult route and some dying in the attempt. Why? Two-time Everester Santosh Yadav from India explains, "The Himalayas have something in them which tugs at my heart. The peace, the sense of divinity, the majestic beauty make these mountains the most enchanting experience for any human being. You feel you are nearer to God. It is you and the vastness of the ranges. The feeling is impossible to describe."
Yadav, first had a glimpse of the ranges when she participated in a mountaineering course. On the very first sight she fell in love with the ranges and after that there was no looking back. She first climbed Mount Everest in the year 1992, and then again in 1993.
"It was such an incredible feeling. I felt a wave of pride rush through my veins. For a few seconds I could not believe what I had done, but then some of my colleagues from the base camp called me on my walkie-talkie to congratulate me on my achievement. After hoisting the National Flag I knelt down and offered prayers to Sagarmata, the Mountain Goddess", says Santosh Yadav.
Major H.P.S. Ahluwalia who scaled the peak in 1965 says the first thought that struck him when he stood atop the Everest was that he had reached the pinnacle of his life and from then onwards, all roads would lead downwards. A year later, in the 1965 Indo-Pak, war he was struck by an enemy bullet and has been on a wheel chair since.
"The Everest is so vast, so beautiful that it makes you philosophical as you stand awestruck at the sheer magnitude of nature," says Ahluwalia.
However, for someone like Edmund Hillary, so much in love with the mountains and especially Everest, his first remarks created a controversy at that time. Returning from the summit to the rest of the expedition team below, Hillary told The London Sunday Telegraph "… we've knocked the bastard off!"
However, he would later explain that what he meant was that for him Mount Everest was the final frontier for human endurance, so when he became one of the two ever to conquer the peak, his joy knew no bounds. He uttered the first thing that came to his mind. " I was like an excited bowler who gets the wicket of a prized batsman."
For Tenzing Norgay, the Himalayas were something magical---a vastness of nature that dwarfed everything. He wanted to climb the Everest to feel the majesty of the peak and to experience that feeling when a human bows to mother nature almost in a reflex action.
Though Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary might have climbed Himalayas for different reasons, but both would agree that these mountains have something mystical and majestic in them which pulls people towards them year after year.
For some it is a childhood passion, for others it provides the biggest natural challenge to human being, while for some others it is just a spiritual journey. Tenzing and Hillary may have been the first but certainly not the last.
In the past half a century the expeditions have been increasing every year as Mount Everest continues to attract thousands of people. For many it will forever remain a tantalizing mystery waiting to be unravelled.
Or as Sir Edmund says, " In the two months that I spent up in the mountains I cannot remember seeing a single person apart from my companion. Everest is a marvellous experience---dozens of untouched peaks all around waiting to be reached, scores of glaciers to explore. It is the sheer sense of isolation and remoteness."
|Copyright © 2002 [the-south-asian.com]. Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.|