Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009

Edmund Hillary Conquers Mount Everest

In May 1953, Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand bee farmer turned mountain climber, became the first person to summit the world's tallest mountain. Hillary and his Sherpa climbing partner Tenzing Norgay raced to the top pursued by another pair of climbers, Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon, who were eventually forced to turn back just 300 vertical feet from the top. Battling fierce winds, sub-zero temperatures and treacherous ice, Hillary and Norgay pressed on to the summit, 29,028 feet (8,848 m) above sea level. Since then, hundreds of climbers have duplicated the feat (including a 15-year-old Sherpa girl), but Hillary will forever be known as the first man to the top of the world.