Early British Attempts
Between 1921 and 1939 the British visited Mount
Everest eight times. But it was the 1924 British expedition in which George Mallery
and Andrew Irvine disappeared, making this expedition so notorious. The 1924 expedition
also marked the highest point achieved by a climber when Edward Norten reached
28,126 feet. This record held until the Swiss attempt in 1952.
Mallery/Irvine Research Expeditions
In May of 1999, an expedition of climbers
and researchers lead by Eric Simonson, searched the north side of the mountain
in hopes of finding Andrew Irvines body and other clues that might help
determine how close Mallory and Irvine came to the summit. To their surprise they
didnt find Irvine, but they did find George Mallory. Their greatest hope
was to recover conclusive evidence, such as a camera with photos taken from the
summit. Although they found amazing historical artifacts, the mystery remains
unsolved. So this season Eric and another team are searching again for Irvine
and the allusive answer to what really happened that day in 1924.
Fourteen Climbed Routes
There have been fourteen routes established on
Everest since its first ascent 48 years ago. Each of these is notable due to the
route and style in which they climbed.
29, 1953. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first ascent of Everest
via the Western Cwm to the South Col and up the Southeast Ridge.
25, 1960. Wang Fu-chou and Chu Yin-hua and the Tibetan Konbu climbed from
the North Col to the crest of the Northeast Ridge. The Chinese boasted that their
system of climbing was greatly superior to that of the previous British attempts.
22, 1963. Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld completed the U.S. West Ridge ascent.
The two traversed from the West Ridge to the Hormbein Couloir. This remains one
of the least climbed routes on the mountain.
24, 1975. The British ascended the mountain via the Southwest Face. This climb
is especially notable in that it helped open the great faces of the Himalayas.
13, 1979. A Yugoslav team followed the West Ridge to the summit instead of
veering off on to the North Face. This was the hardest sustained rock climbing
on Everest to date.
10, 1980. Japanese climbers Tsuneoh Shigehiro and Takashi Ozaki made the first
full ascent of the North Face. Starting from the Rongbuk Glacier, they went up
a gully, now known as the Japanese Couloir, and into the Hornbein Couloir.
19, 1980. After completing the first-ever winter ascent three months before,
a Polish team followed the South Pillar on the right edge of the Southwest Face.
The Rock Band took 16 days to climb.
20, 1980. In one of the most amazing climbs ever, Reinhold Messner made a
solo ascent without supplemental oxygen. He had planned to follow the Chinese
route on the Northeast Ridge, but soft snow forced him to traverse onto the face.
After reaching the Great/Norton Couloir, he climbed it almost directly to the
May 4, 1982.
This was Russias first attempt on Everest. The Soviet climbers ascended
the Southwest Pillar, left of the Great Central Gully on the Southwest Face. In
all, eleven made it to the summit.
8, 1983. A U.S. team climbed the East or Kangshung Face. This required navigating
a 3,500-foot rock and ice buttress, now known as the Lowe or American Buttress.
The climbers: Carlos Buhler, Kim Momb, Lou Reichardt, George Lowe, Daniel Reid,
and Jay Cassell.
3, 1984. An Australian team climbed the North Face directly up the Great/Norton
Couloir. Tim Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer became the second climbers, after
Reinhold Messner, to establish a new route without the aid of bottled oxygen.
20, 1986. Canadian Sharon Wood was the first North American woman to climb
Everest and she did so by a new route. The expedition climbed to the West Shoulder
from the Rongbuk Glacier and traversed to the Hornbein Couloir and on to the summit.
12, 1988. A U.S. team along with British climber Stephen Venables climbed
the Kangshung Face in a line to the left of the 1983 route. Venables was the only
one to reach the summit and in doing so became the second person to solo a new
route and the third to do so without oxygen.
11, 1995. A Japanese team becomes the first to climb the Northeast Ridge proper.