PUT À DAY
The sons of New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay Sherpa presided over celebrations in Nepal on Monday marking the 70th anniversary of their fathers' historic conquest of Everest, the highest mountain in the world.< /p>
“In many ways, it was not just Ed Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who reached the summit of Everest, but all of humanity,” said Peter Hillary at a school founded by his father Edmund in the remote village from Khumjung, 3,790 meters above sea level.
“Suddenly any one of us could leave,” he added.
The conquest of the “ Roof of the World”, culminating at an altitude of 8,849 m on May 29, 1953, changed mountaineering forever and covered the New Zealander and his Nepalese guide in glory around the world.
Members of the respective families joined villagers and officials on Monday morning to inaugurate the Sir Edmund Hillary Tourist Office, housed within the original school building which opened in 1961.
Butter lamps were lit in front of photographic portraits of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. Their sons, Peter Hillary and Jamling Norgay Sherpa, cut a red ribbon officially opening the center.
A renovated museum was also opened in the name of Tenzing Norgay at Namche Bazar, the largest tourist hub on the way to Everest Base Camp.
In Kathmandu, officials and hundreds of climbers took part in a rally with celebratory banners.
Nepali's top climbers, including Kami Rita Sherpa, nicknamed “the Everest man”, who reached his summit last week for the 28th time, were honored at a ceremony.
Sanu Sherpa, the only one to have climbed the world's 14 highest peaks twice, called on the government to support Nepali guides, who take huge risks to accompany foreign mountaineers on their ascents.
“The government hasn't done much for the Sherpas. I think it would be a great help and we would be happy if the government helped educate the children of climbers who died in the mountains,” Sanu Sherpa told AFP.
For the past seven decades, more than 6,000 climbers have climbed the world's tallest mountain, according to the Himalayan Database, and more than 300 climbers have lost their lives in the same time frame, including 12 this year already.
With five climbers currently missing, 2023 is a record year for Everest fatalities.
Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest peaks in the world, including Everest, and welcomes hundreds of climbers each spring, when temperatures are warmer and winds generally lower.