Interesting but the website you post raises some questions:
1.) Hillary is said to have photographed Norgay holding flags of Britian, Nepal, the UN, and India. Hillary was from New Zealand. Why no flag?
2.) And why India? Where there Indian climbers who made it most of the way up that day? And can I assume the British flag was there because it was considered a British expedition? The first Briton atop Everest is listed as making it in the mid-70's.
3.) Hillary and the expedition leader (whom I had always thought was Hillary but what do I know) were knighted upon their return. Was Norgay un-knightable for some reason?
4.) The article says that a year after that first successful climb, Norgay was back on top at "a record 28,215 feet." With the figure of 29,028 being registered the first time around, what record was set with the smaller figure? I would guess that at 813 feet (the difference between the two figures) they set the record for the deepest hole dug into the mountaintop but that hardly seems likely.
5.) Does anyone know for certain which of the two men was really-truly the first to reach the top? Does anyone actually care? I had heard that it was actually Tenzing Norgay but, since he was "just" the Sherpa guide, the honor went to Hillary.
The conquest of Everest is very likely something that is covered in far more detail over there than it is in American schools so please forgive my Yankee ignorance if the answers to these questions are common knowledge to the majority of wordcrafters.
And one last note, tying this all back in to the English language:
I read once that a British official travelled to Nepal shortly after WW2 to praise the Nepalese who fought in that war. Among other things he said that they "really pulled their weight," a compliment which originated in the world of rowing. Nepal, being a bit on the mountainous side, is not known for its rowing expertise and, while the audience was fluent in English, this one compliment puzzled them greatly.
[This message was edited by C J Strolin on Thu May 29th, 2003 at 16:39.]
The expedition was British, hence the British flag. No idea why the Indian flag was included, and the New Zealand flag was not.
Army Colonel John Hunt was the British expedition leader. Hunt was knighted in 1953, retired from the army in 1956, and elevated to the House of Lords in 1966, taking the title Baron Hunt of Llanfairwaterdine.
I think the reference to the record height of 28,215 feet means that is the highest point the 1954 Swiss expedition reached.
I've no idea who actually reached the top first; only the two protagonists know, and they ain't telling.
quote:Originally posted by C J Strolin: I had heard that it was actually Tenzing Norgay but, since he was "just" the Sherpa guide, the honor went to Hillary.
Interesting letter in the Daily Telegraph yesterday. You have to register to see it on the website, so I've reposted it here:
quote:Sir - When the British expedition gathered at Mount Everest in 1953 (Everest supplement, May 29), Tenzing Norgay was one of the most accomplished Himalayan mountaineers in the world. With six previous campaigns under his belt, Norgay would have acquired a vast array of specialist skills. These would have included the high degree of different rope skills needed for the challenging sections of the climb, the ability to operate oxygen equipment, to strike camp at the most God-forsaken of altitudes and to navigate under extreme stress. The execution of these skills on a pioneering endeavour of immense proportions would have required no little intelligence, courage and fortitude.
It is therefore all the more insulting to Norgay that Sir Edmund Hillary should have doubted the sherpa's ability to press the button of a camera. This belittling incident reveals a good deal about the attitudes that clearly prevailed in 1953 and that, to judge from some comments made by British veterans in recent commemorative programmes, still linger.
Perhaps Sir Edmund should have shown him the rudiments of a camera, for it is Norgay's unforgettable image that, more than any other, defines the first heroic climb of the mountain.
quote:Originally posted by Hic et ubique: Pardon my colonial ignorance, but isn't today a major fiftieth anniversary for you brits?
June 2nd was the 50th anniversary of the Queen's coronation, yes. No big celebrations here, but it was marked by a church service, and some of the quality papers had supplements of photos and such-like.
It was the first coronation to be broadcast on TV (a controversial decision at the time) so there's also been some memoires of what was involved in that.
There were bigger events last year (50 years after her accession) but overall I suspect we tend to take the Queen rather more casually than you might imagine. There is not universal approval of the royal family, so events are careful not to go "over the top".