By Jeff Hartman
Mount Everest, at 29,029 feet high, is the tallest on the planet
– not a bad place to set a few world records.
Here are some notable ones.
1922 “The good ol’ college try”
George Mallory’s team makes the first full-scale attempt to climb Mt. Everest. They don’t make it to the top, but they do become the first humans to climb above 26,000 feet. Still, guys, would those last 3000 feet have killed you? Yes, probably so.
1924: “Did they or didn’t they?”
George Mallory and Andrew Irvine make a valiant attempt for the summit. Another climber, Noell Odell, writes in his diary that he last saw them at 26,000 feet. The two are never seen again. Did they make it? No one knows.
1953: “This is how you do it!”
The summit is officially conquered on May 29th, 1953 at 11:30am by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal. At 11:32am, Hillary says, “Um, Tenzing? How do we get down?”
1963 “The Americans want in on the party too”
Jim Whittaker becomes the first American to climb Everest. Probably to chants of “USA! USA! USA!”
1975 “Not a boy’s club anymore”
Junko Tabei of Japan becomes the first woman on the summit. You go girl.
1978 “Oxygen? Who needs Oxygen?”
Reinhold Messner of Italy and Peter Habeler of Austria reach the summit without the use of supplemental oxygen. Famous words from that expedition: “Wait, I thought you packed the oxygen!”
1988 “Walking is too easy”
Jean-Marc Boivin of France makes the first paraglider descent of the mountain. Because why not?
1990 “From low to high”
Tim Macartney-Snape becomes the first person to walk and climb from sea level to the top of Mount Everest. The 750-mile journey beginning in the Bay of Bengal lasts three months.
1996 “Into Thin Air”
In 1996, fifteen people die trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest year in Everest history and inspiring the bestseller Into Thin Air by John Krakaur.
1998 “One foot is all it takes”
Naturalized American and British born Tom Whittaker, whose right foot had been amputated, becomes the first disabled person to successfully reach the summit.
1999 “This looks like a good place for a nap”
Babu Chiri Sherpa of Nepal spends 21 hours on the summit. The view must have been pretty darn awesome.
2000 “I have the need for speed”
Davo Karničar from Slovenia is the first man to ski from the summit to base camp. He reaches speeds of 75 mph and becomes the first person in history to scream, “What was I thinking?!?” above 25,000 feet.
2001 “A couple of firsts”
- Marco Siffredi of France becomes the first person to descend on a snowboard.
- Erik Weihenmayer, of Boulder, Colorado, becomes the first blind person to reach the summit.
2003 “I don’t have time to lollygag around”
Sherpa Lakpa Gelu makes the world’s fastest ascent in 10 hours, 56 minutes.
2005 “The easy way up”
The first landing of a helicopter on the summit. That’s cheating!
2006 “Give me a pair of legs and I’ll do it”
New Zealander Mark Inglis becomes the first person to reach the summit with two artificial legs.
2010 “Oh to be young again”
Jordan Romero, age 13, becomes the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. Maybe now classmate Trisha Stevens will notice him!
2011 “Once or 20 times is not enough”
Apa Sherpa climbed Everest for the 21st time, becoming the first person in history to actually get bored climbing the world’s tallest mountain.
2012 “Age is relative”
Tamae Watanabe breaks her own record as the oldest female to summit at age 73 while simultaneously making thousands of twenty-somethings question what they are doing with their lives.
2013 “80 is the new 50”
Yuichiro Miura, 80, once again reclaimed his title of oldest to reach the summit.