Mountaineers and royalty mark Everest 60th annivesary

Hillary and Tenzing’s sons attend London events to mark historic climb

A “flashmob” of mountaineers has gathered to mark the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and and Tenzing Norgay’s historic ascent of Mount Everest.

Former and current celebrated mountaineers joined the sons of the first men to reach the summit at the signing of a newly-released book on the expedition.

The occasion marks 60 years since Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay became the first men to reach the 29,028ft (8,848 metres) summit on May 29 1953.

Their sons, Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay, joined mountaineers Sir Chris Bonington, Stephen Venables and Doug Scott, as well as Kenton Cool, who earlier this month became the first person to scale the three peaks of Everest’s Western Cwm in one climb, at Stanfords bookshop in central London for a signing of a newly-released book on the expedition.

Later this evening Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate the anniversary at a reception at the Royal Geographical Society in London where Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay will speak.

Although the men made their famous ascent four days earlier news of it only reached London on June 2, 1953 — the day the Queen was crowned monarch at Westminster Abbey.

Speakers at the event will include Stephen Venables, the first Britain to climb Everest without bottled oxygen in 1988, and the mountaineer Chris Bonington, who led the expedition that saw the first Britons — Doug Scott and Dougal Haston -conquer the world’s highest mountain in 1975.

The event is being staged by the Mount Everest Foundation, of which the Duke is patron, and the Himalayan Trust UK.

The newly published book, The Conquest Of Everest — Original Photographs From The Legendary First Ascent features a previously unpublished collection of photographs from the climb, put together by the late George Lowe, a member of Hillary’s team, with help from family friend and historian Huw Lewis-Jones.

The book of photographs includes landscapes, candid portraits and action shots portraying the day-to-day moments of the historic expedition.

Mr Lowe was the last surviving member of the team until he died earlier this year aged 89.

Dr Lewis-Jones, who worked with him for several years before his death to put together his memoirs and photographs from the climb said today’s signing had proved to be “quite a mountaineers’ flashmob”.

“It’s right that we do everything we can to remind the world of the story of the guys of ‘53, quite amazing men,” he said.

He added that having Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay at the occasion was particularly special.

“These guys have lived with it all their life, it’s a special moment when guys come together on the 60th anniversary, but to be together at that exact moment that their fathers reached the summit is great.

“Both Peter and Jamling gave little speeches and reflected on Everest 60 years on.”

He said he was proud to have worked on the book with Mr Lowe, adding: “A book is a book, it’s not climbing Everest but it was massively emotional.

“It was a huge honour for me to have an opportunity to work with George on a book.

“You don’t always get a chance a work with your heroes.”

- Reuters