On top of the world

Nepal is home to eight of the highest mountains in the world, including Everest, which soars to 8,848 metres above sea level. It was declared the world’s highest mountain way back in 1856 and since that time, many people have dreamed of climbing to the top of the world.

First to the summit - Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to successfully achieve this feat. They were part of the 1953 British Everest Expedition, which included climbers from across the British Empire. In total, about 400 people were part of the expedition and they tackled the climb in stages, establishing a camp and acclimatising to the altitude before advancing to the next stage.

On May 26th, the expedition’s goal was within reach when Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans attempted the final push to the summit. Unfortunately they had to turn back within 300 feet of the top, paving the way for Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing to successfully complete their attempt three days later on 29 May. They spent just 15 minutes at the summit, taking photographs and enjoying the view before commencing their descent.

Many people still like to speculate about whether anyone conquered Mount Everest before this date. In 1924, George Mallory and Sandy Irvine set off for the summit but were never seen alive again. In 1999 Mallory’s body was discovered and it is thought that he was descending the mountain when he died. No evidence was ever found to suggest that he made it to the top, but we will probably never know for sure.

Wildlife at the top of Everest

Everest’s lower elevations are home to an array of wildlife, such as snow leopards, Himalayan tahr and many different types of bird, but virtually no animal can conquer the summit. The Himalayan jumping spider is said to survive above 6,000 metres by eating insects blown on the wind, yellow-billed choughs – crow-like birds – have been spotted as high as about 8,000 metres and bar-headed geese fly over the Himalayas during migration.

Experience Everest for yourself

Whilst it’s possible for experienced climbers to join an organised Everest expedition, it costs many thousands of pounds, so for most people a scenic flight is probably a more realistic way of admiring the beauty of this incredible natural wonder.

Every Travelsphere holiday offers exceptional value for money. Included in the price are return scheduled flights/rail travel and internal flights, where applicable, overseas transfers and transportation, carefully chosen hotels, many meals and excursions and the services of a Travelsphere Tour Manager or Local Guide.