Who Was the First Person To Climb Mount Everest and Survived?

The other day, my sister was talking to me about the manga she was reading, The Summit of the Gods by Jiro Taniguchi. A classic about a photographer who goes on an adventure with a mountaineer to discover where this need to climb mountains, to climb Everest, comes from.

At one point, I remember saying that I used to know who was the first person to successfully climb Mount Everest–I was fascinated by the subject for a very brief period of time a very long time ago. I forgot who it was. So, let’s go back in time to find out once more:

The History of the First Person who Climbed Mount Everest and Survived

In The Summit of the Gods, the protagonist thought he got the answer, a proof telling if the English mountaineer George Mallory, who disappeared in June 1924 on the North Ridge of Everest, was the first one to climb Mount Everest. Truth is, even with Mallory’s body, which was discovered in 1999, we’ll never know if he did it or not.

What we know though, is that New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest. It was on 29 May 1953, and they lived to talked about.

As measured from sea level, Mount Everest, also known as “Sagarmatha” in Nepal and “Chomolungma” in Tibet, is the highest mountain on the planet. It lies on the boundary between Nepal and China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and is a component of the Himalayan mountain range. It is officially 8,848.86 meters (29,031.7 ft) above sea level–but due to tectonic plate movement and geological activity, this number may vary slightly.

Who Discovered and Named Mount Everest?

It may be strange to think about that today, but for a long time, we didn’t know anything about big parts of the world. In 1847, in British-ruled India, surveyors got a glimpse of the mountain from near Darjeeling.

Over the next three years, multiple survey parties confirmed their position and took measures. But it was not before 1852 that Radhanath Sickdhar–who was described as a mathematician of genius–confirmed that, yes, this “Peak XV” is the highest Mountain in the world.

Before that, it was thought that Kangchenjunga was the highest and Sir Andrew Scott Waugh who was then the surveyor general of India didn’t want to announce that it was not the case until it was confirmed. He only published his result in 1856.

It was then time to christen the mountain and Waugh suggested to name it after his predecessor, Sir George Everest. It was not the tradition to do that. In fact, Everest always used local names to name the places he surveyed, but Waugh who, up to that point, had continued that practice, argued against the local names and rejected the other propositions made at that time. Even Everest was against naming the mountain after him. But the Royal Geographical Society did it anyway a few years later.

Interested in other exploits, I recently wrote about the discovery of the Northwest Passage, Machu Picchu, and the Grand Canyon.

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