Everest 60th Anniversary Celebrations
DAY ONE - 16TH MAY 2013
*MK on trek to Everest: Five intrepid explorers will today depart the UK, on our Everest Base Camp Anniversary Trek. Their destination: Nepal's capital city, Kathmandu. In the lead up to the anniversary, we are going to be following their adventure as they make the journey to Base Camp.
*60 years ago: The 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition departed for Nepal on 12th February, on a ship bound for Bombay. Other members of the team flew to Nepal, including Edmund Hillary, who flew from New Zealand.
*Did you know? The world's highest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest was named in 1865, after Sir George Everest, the British Surveyor General of India. It's Nepalese name is Sagarmartha, and in Tibet it is called Chomolungma.
DAY TWO - 17TH MAY 2013
*MK on trek to Everest: Today the group will arrive in Kathmandu, after their international flight. Maybe they will eat at the Rum Doodle Restaurant, where trekkers sign their name on a cutout of a foot, and stick it on the wall, to join the collection built over the last twenty years!
*60 years ago: When the Expedition party arrived in Kathmandu there were no hotels, so they were looked after by the British ambassador.
*Did you know? Apa Sherpa holds the record for the greatest number of ascents – he has reached the summit of Everest 21 times between 1990 and 2011.
DAY THREE - 18TH MAY 2013
*MK on trek to Everest: Rather than rush off on trek, the group will have a day to relax after the international flight, and explore the bustling sights of Kathmandu, including the 'monkey temple’ at Swayanbunath.
*60 years ago:The party, along with 350 porters, left Kathmandu on the 10th and 11th March.
*Did you know? Probably the most popular dish in the Everest region is Dal Bhaat, a thick lentil stew, served with rice or pappadom. It is a hearty and nutritious option when trekking, and each teahouse has a slightly different recipe. If you fancy making it at home, here's a recipe for you.
Kathmandu. Image courtesy of A Harrison
DAY FOUR - 19TH MAY 2013
*MK on trek to Everest: The group will take the domestic flight to Lukla – which must be one of the most spectacular flights in the world! Upon arrival, the group will meet the Sherpa and trek crew and begin the trek, reaching the village of Monjo.
* 60 years ago: There are actually two base camps for Everest. South Base Camp is in Nepal and North Base Camp is in Tibet. The 1953 expedition climbed to the summit using the South Col route, so started in Nepal. These camps were established for climbing expeditions, but now have become trekking destinations themselves.
* Did you know? In 2010, thirteen year old American teenager, Jordan Romero, broke the record for the youngest person to reach the summit of Everest.
DAY FIVE – 20TH MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: today the group enter the Sagamartha National Park, and continue up to Namche Bazaar, the largest village in the Khumbu region.
*60 years ago: watch a slideshow of photos taken on the 1953 Summit Expedition on the BBC website, using photos from the Royal Geographical Society.
*Did you know? If you aren't feeling fit enough to tackle Everest in real life, you can recreate the ascent at home! Lego have created an interpretation of the Everest trek (in Lego), including the flight to Lukla, Base Camp, the Khumbu Icefall and the summit itself!
DAY SIX – 21ST MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: The group will have a free day at Namche Bazaar. This day is built in to aid acclimatisation, which is so important when trekking at altitude. Perhaps they will take a walk up to the Sagarmartha National Park Museum, browse Namche's shops, or take in the mountain views over a cup of hot lemon.
* 60 years ago: When Hillary and Tenzing made the successful ascent, a coded message was sent back to Namche Bazaar by runner, where the message was send by telegram to the British Embassy in Kathmandu. Today, technology has improved – now there is broadband internet at Base Camp!
* Did you know that yaks are used to transport goods in the Everest region, including your trek gear? MK client, Hermione Roff, was inspired to write a book on her trek in Nepal. Her comical tale of two yaks on trek in Nepal, Nak & Yak, is aimed at children aged 3-7 years, and is beautifully illustrated. You can purchase a copy from our office for £8, including postage. £5 from every book sale goes to the Nepali Children's Trust. See http://www.nepalichildrenstrust.com for more information on the trust, which was set up in 2005 by another MK client, Fran McGowan. Registered charity number 1111279.
Namche Bazaar after dark. Image courtesy of R Walls
DAY SEVEN – 22ND MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: Today the trail leads to the village of Thame. This is where Tenzing Norgay lived for many years.
* Did you know? Mountain Kingdoms and its MD, Steve Berry, have lots of connections to Everest. Did you know that Mountain Kingdoms and Jagged Globe used to be the same company, Himalayan Kingdoms? In 1993, Himalayan Kingdoms ran an Everest Summit Expedition, putting 16 people on the summit, including Himalayan Kingdoms co-founder, Steve Bell, climber Ginette Harrison and MK trek leader, Gary Pfisterer.
DAY EIGHT – 23RD MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: The group will continue their trek to the village of Khunde, perhaps visiting Thame Monastery before they head off.
* 60 years ago: Some of the 'luxury' food that the expedition team ate for breakfast whilst on the mountain included; sardines on biscuits, tinned pineapples and pears, salami and biscuits and honey. Our Everest Base Camp Trek group are more likely to have something warming such as eggs, porridge and toast with jam for their breakfast.
* Did you know?Graham Hoyland, is a self-shooting producer and director of adventure films. He has worked on all seven continents for the BBC, Discovery, Travel Channel and NBC, from the shores of Antarctica to the peaks of the Himalayas, and he was the 15th Briton to climb Mount Everest.
We asked Graham how he felt when he reached the summit:
"I can’t remember much. Now it all seems a sort of vivid dream: bright sunlight, a tearing wind, a long flag of ice particles flying downwind of us. A vast drop of two miles into Tibet. We could see across a hundred miles of tightly packed peaks, and we could see the curvature of the earth. Contorted faces shouting soundlessly, lips blue with oxygen starvation. Doctors prove with blood samples that climbers are in the process of dying up there on the summit, but I would say that is where I started to live. As I stumbled down the mountain one thought kept recurring to me. If I, a very average climber, could stand on this summit, how could the legendary George Mallory have failed to do so?"
DAY NINE – 24TH MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: We’ve heard news from Tom Whipple, Times Reporter, who is travelling on our Anniversary Trek: “We are at Thyangboche Monastery. The prayer flags are fluttering beside us, the last of the snows are clinging on below us, Everest is towering above us – and Barbara launched a successful mission to find an apple strudel at the German bakery in the village.” They also had an encounter with a hairy shrunken Yeti head.
Thyangboche is the location of the main monastery in the Khumbu region. Here, every autumn from the October full moon, Thyangboche Monastery is home to the Mani Rimdu Festival. Lamas (monks) wearing cockaded hats blow Tibetan horns and ‘Black Hat’ dancers twirl, dispelling evil demons. The three day festival is a celebration of Buddhism, and Sherpa people trek from miles around to attend.
We have spaces available on two of our departures which attend the colourful festival. See
Everest Base Camp & Gokyo trek and Luxury Lodges of Everest trek for details.
* 60 years ago: The Expedition party reached Thyangboche on the 26th and 27th March. They used the time between 27th March and the 17th April to acclimatise to the altitude.
* Did you know? Oldest person to summit – In 2008, Min Bahadur Serchan broke the record for the oldest person to reach the summit – at 76 years old.
DAY TEN – 25TH MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: Today the group will reach Dingboche. This village is set in a stunning position, surrounded by high peaks. Our Anniversary Trek is led by Nima Sherpa - an Everest Summiteer. You can read about how he felt when he reached the summit on our blog.
* 60 years ago: On the 12th April, the 'Icefall party' reached Base Camp and routes through the Khumbu Icefall were planned. Porters then carried tons of equipment up to Base Camp.
* Did you know? Pemba Dorje Sherpa holds the record for the fastest ascent via the southeast ridge (South Col), reaching the summit in just 8 hours and 10 minutes.
DAY ELEVEN – 26TH MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: The Anniversary Trek group will spend the day at Dingboche (4,350m/14,268ft). This extra day will help the group to acclimatise, ready for their push to Everest Base Camp at (5,300m/17,384ft).
* 60 years ago: On the 26th May, Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, the first of the two climbing pairs selected by their leader, John Hunt, set out for the summit. They successfully achieved the first ascent of the 8,750 m (28,700 ft) South Summit, coming within 100 m (300 ft) of the final summit, but were forced to turn back after becoming exhausted, defeated by oxygen equipment problems and lack of time.
* Did you know: British mountaineer, Kenton Cool, has set a new world record this year - he climbed, along with his climbing partner, Dorje Gylgen, the three peaks of the Western Cym. This amazing feat was acheived over just three days, starting with Mt Nuptse (7,861m), then Mt Everest (8,848m) and finally Mt Lhotse (8,516m). Click here to read Tom Whipple's article as featured in the Times.
DAY TWELVE – 27TH MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: The group will follow the Everest trail, over the rocky moraine at the end of the Khumbu glacier, and on to the hamlet of Lobuche. The terrain is wild and rocky here, with a feeling of being high up in the mountains!
* 60 years ago: George Band, one of the 1953 Expedition party, trekked with our MD, Steve, in 2000. On their trek to the Nanda Devi Inner Sanctuary the two shared tales of their adventures in the Himalaya. Tom Stubbart, the cameraman for the 1953 team, climbed Mount Nun Kun with Steve's father in 1946.
* Did you know? Fastest descent - The first person to paraglide from the summit of Everest was Jean-Marc Boivin. The record was made in 1988, taking Jean-Marc 11 minutes to reach Camp II from the summit.
Heading on to Lobuche. Image courtesy of A Parsons.
DAY THIRTEEN – 28TH MAY 2013
* MK on trek to Everest: Today the group will reach their goal of Everest Base Camp! Although there are no views of the actual summit of Everest, there are sensational close-up views of the intimidating Khumbu ice-fall and the surrounding scenery of ice seracs and tumbled rocks. As it is the climbing season, the Base Camp will be busy with mountaineering teams, preparing for/returning from their summit attempts.
Steve and Katie Berry at Everest Base Camp.
* See more photos of the Everest region: Here's a photo of our MD, Steve, at Base Camp. Take a look at our facebook albums – Everest Base Camp Trek, Everest Anniversary Trek and Ama Dablam Base Camp, for more images of the Everest region.
* 60 years ago: The 1953 Everest Expedition required about 350 porters to carry equipment up to Base Camp, and twenty Sherpa guides to assist with the climb. After the expedition, Sir Edmund Hillary founded the Himalayan Trust, to provide health and education for people in the Everest region.
‘To many western eyes, the Everest Region is a place of great beauty and high mountains to be climbed. For the Sherpas and other Nepalese who live there however, life has few privileges. Medicine and education are scarce, bridges and paths are often destroyed and forests upon which they depend are rapidly being depleted. Despite these hardships they are the most warm-hearted people I know. Any help you can provide will be important and gratefully received.’ Sir Edmund Hillary.
Mountain Kingdoms and our generous clients have been supporting the Himalayan Trust for over twenty years. To make a donation please visit their website.
Times journalist, Tom Whipple, travelled with Mountain Kingdoms to Everest Base Camp. Read his article about Kanza Sherpa, who was part of the 1953 expedition team, and another article about Elizabeth Hawley, who complies Everest records on her website www.himalayandatabase.com
DAY FOURTEEN – 29TH MAY
This time 60 years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit of Everest. Limited by their oxygen sources, their stay on the summit was a short one, lasting just fifteen minutes. Sherpa Tenzing made offerings of sweets and biscuits to the Buddhist gods as thanks for their safe passage.Their monumental achievement has inspired generations of explorers to conquer the highest peaks, not only in the Himalayas but worldwide.
The news took several days to reach the public, being first published in the Times newspaper. To celebrate this event, the Times sent one of their reporters, Tom Whipple, on Mountain Kingdoms Base Camp trek. You can read his Times front cover story here (spread across 3 pages one, two, three)