The True Spirit of Adventure
This weekend May 29th marks the 69th anniversary of my father Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent of Chomolungma (Everest) in 1953. At that time, it was the closest that man had been to the moon. The lure of Chomolungma today remains insatiable. More than 325 permits were issued this spring to climb the mother Goddess, with a handsome yield of $3.3m for the Government of Nepal in licensing fees.
While Everest Base Camp this year was recently likened by Eelum Dixit of the Nepali Times to “a temporary Dubai: a boomtown amidst pinnacles of ice, where nothing grows but everything is available for a price”, let’s celebrate those who embodied the true spirit of adventure.
Sherpas continue to make history: Kami Rita Sherpa made his record-breaking 26th ascent, followed by Pasang Dawa Sherpa’s 25th ascent and my cousin Ngima Nuru Sherpa with his 24th ascent. Mingma G just completed 13 of the 14 8,000-meter peaks without oxygen. Lakpa Sherpa’s remarkable journey marked her 10th ascent, most for any woman. For them, it is less about records than about adding to the rich legacy of those who paved the way and, significantly, assuring a better future for their families.
Then there is Kristin Harila, the 36-year-old Norwegian climber who just climbed six of the 14 8,000-meter peaks in record time not to mention days - an accomplishment that is usually years in the making. And, worth mentioning, she climbed Lhotse and then Everest in a record 8hrs and 35min. “It was a struggle. The weather got worse, but it was no turning back. I am tired, but very happy” she said afterwards. And she’s not done. Her quest is to climb all fourteen 8,000m peaks in less than 6 months.
We wish her all the best.
With the coming monsoons, the spring season on Chomolungma draws to a close. Mountaineering workers will return home to their loved ones to rejuvenate their bodies and their minds, as will the 325 who had the privilege to step on the mountain.
Thu che chey (thank you) Chomolungma,
Photo Courtesy of: Royal Geographic Society