Actually that’s high season for attempts to summit at mountains over 8,000 meters in the area of Tibet and Nepal, and would like to explain you a curious history which I think it’s not true, but at least it is still plausible and quite intriguing.
During the period of acclimation to the summit of Everest in April of 2010, I went alone for a trekking at theGokyo valley, try to cross the famous “Cho-La Pass” One night I was in a shelter talking for long hours with a Sherpa who told me an amazing story:
He said he was from the same town of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who in 1953 was, along with Sir.Edmund Hillary, one of the first two men to reach the top of the world. He told me that he was a close friend of the whole family of Tenzing and he could tell me for sure that Hillary did not summit on that May 29th. 1953 at 11h30, because he felt sick and could not rise from the last high altitude camp . But Tenzing, tired of several failed attempts to conquer the mountain (the previous year he had been the man who had come highest, up to 8,599 meters), wanted to try it, accompanied by another Sherpa… And he did it; and therefore the only picture on the summit is with Tenzing and there is no one with Hillary.
But the British empire had a strong commitment to this mountain, the highest in the world, and the honor of the Crown was at stake; they couldn’t allow in any way to be a Nepali (considered at that time nearly like a second class humans) to have the glory of a British expedition. Therefore, and always according to my confidant, they built another official version, with Hillary at the summit, which is what the history knows; having bought the silence of Tenzing Norgay and his entire family with an oath of honor and assuring a good life forever to them and their descendants.
Obviously I do not advocate this release, nor affirm anything specific, nor accused of plagiarism to one of the most important goals of the history of mountaineering; but I wanted to share with you this story, because it made me think a lot, and perhaps it makes you also thing about. I also want to highlight a few points:
– It wouldn’t be the first nor the last rung lying at the Himalayan world. Climbers world seems very bucolic, but is also full of egos, interests, selfishness and above all, lies. I personally know some climbers who have signed summits over 8,000 meters that have not really achieved, or they say they have done fully without oxygen (basically the case of Everest ), and it’s not like it.
– How can it be possible that Hillarry forget to take the photo, being one of the most important milestones of exploration and mountaineering worldwide? No mountaineer forgets the photo in a minimally important summit; and it is known that the weather was fine at the summit time that day, and by the statements of the protagonists, they never said that Hillary had problems with balance or reasoning during the summit attack motivated by exhaustion or altitude sickness . So clueless can become a person?
– On June 2nd, 1953 (only 4 days after the summit of Hillary and Tenzing) Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, and the entire British Empire was expecting a possible exploits on Everest as one of the best gifts to celebrate this historic moment. Imagine that the version told me that by that Sherpa could be true… do you think that a great empire of the time would have allowed a ‘second class citizen’ stole that awaited milestone?
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay are already dead and history will always remember the official version, which I repeat that I hope and wish is the good one; but I remember the perfectly sincere and passionate look of the man who explained me really convinced this other version in the Gokyo valley, and I will always keep a little credit for what he told me and, at the end, it would not surprise me totally, knowing the frequent deceptions that has been in the area of high mountaineering, and overlooking the crazy things done by the metropolis at all levels in the colonial times.