At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everst, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. The two, part of a British expedition, made their final assault on the summit after spending a fitful night at 27,900 feet. News of their achievement broke around the world on June 2, the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and Britons hailed it as a good omen for their country’s future.
Mount Everest sits on the crest of the Great Himalayas in Asia, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Called Chomo-Lungma, or “Mother Goddess of the Land,” by the Tibetans, the English named the mountain after Sir George Everst, a 19th-century British surveyor of South Asia. The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth’s atmosphere — at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners — and oxygen levels there are very low, temperatures are extremely cold, and weather is unpredictable and dangerous.
A brief video and more details are available at the History Channel site.
[tags]May 29 – today in history 1953[/tags]