Last week I had an assignment for my writing class: write an essay on the first something in History. This stumped me. It shouldn't have since it was such a broad subject... but it did. With so many choices before me I couldn't think of anything. Suddenly (not really... it was a whole week later) I only had an evening to write my paper. I had decided to write it on the first digital camera, but after spending around two and a half hours trying to find enough information on it, I gave up. Either no-one knew anything about the first digital camera, or it just wasn't interesting enough for anyone to write about. So that idea was tossed out the window and I began afresh... with no plan whatsoever. Still I could not think of anthing that I would want to write about. Finally I looked at the actual assignment (my teacher always has a small list of suggestions) and decided to write on the first successful mount of Mount Everest.
A Mountain of Achievement
It was June 2, 1953, the year Queen Elizabeth II was officially crowned, when England heard the news. Mount Everest had been conquered. It had been 32 years since the first attempt was made, and all of England was excited to hear the news. The two men who had ascended the mountain 7 weeks earlier had made it to the top and had made history.
The first attempt to climb the mountain had been made by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. They began their trek up the mountain in 1924, but never returned to land. Mallory’s body was later found by explorers in 1999, more than 50 years after his death.
Nevertheless, their disappearance did not stop the daring men to try the mountain for themselves. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made their successful journey up and down the dangerous peak. They had conquered the mountain, and were proud of that fact. However, this provided a problem for those who believed that Irvine and Mallory were the rightful victors over the mount. Even though Mallory’s body had been found, his camera was missing, and without it, there was no evidence that Mallory had reached the top. Because of this, Hillary and Tenzing were able to keep their fame of reaching the top.
It is amazing how these two men hiked up the mountain in less than two months with only the technology of the 50’s to help them. They truly had to survive the wild winter of the mountains. This feat was accomplished with “40 tents, 3,000 feet of rope, 75 bottles of oxygen, 47 tins of Spam, and endless loads of film and filming gear.” [Gregory McNamee]
Some may think, “What if Irvine’s body was found, and he had photographic proof on him, that they had indeed reached the summit? Would they be the rightful victors over one of the highest mountains on Earth?” I think not. Hillary and Norgay had ascended and descended the mountain, and had truly conquered Mount Everest.
McNamee, Gregory. "The First Summit of Mount Everest: A Milestone Reaches Its 60th.
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Telegraph. The Telegraphy Media Group, 19 May. 2010. Web. 28 Jan. 2014