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29 May 1953: Mount Everest conquered for the first time

Hillary and Norgay on their return from the summit in May 1953.
Hillary and Norgay on their return from the summit in May 1953. / Reuters
  • Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay are the first confirmed climbers to have reached the summit; Spaniards have also made history

At 11.30am on 29 May 1953 New Zealand mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) reached the summit of Mount Everest, becoming the first confirmed mountaineers to successfully climb to the top.

Hillary and Norgay were part of the ninth British expedition to the world's highest mountain.

The pair spent 15 minutes at the top of the mountain and while Hillary took a photo of Norgay, there is no photo of Hillary. In his autobiography the sherpa claimed that his companion had declined to have his photo taken. However, there are other photos of him during the climb.

Norgay left chocolates as an offering while Hillary left a cross which had been given to him by expedition leader John Hunt.

However, news of their feat wasn't announced in the UK until 2 June, which coincided with Queen Elizabeth's coronation.

Diario SUR's 3 June edition covered the coronation, but made no mention of the Everest achievement.

Spain would have to wait for its Everest glory until 14 May 1980, when Martín Zabaleta became the first Spanish person to conquer the 8,848-metre peak.

On 7 October 1993 Ramón Blanco, a Venezuelan with Spanish nationality, became the world's oldest person to conquer the planet's highest mountain at the age of 60. He held on to the record for five years until Armenian Lev Sarkisov, then aged 61, pushed him off the number one spot.

The first Andalusians to face the challenge were mountaineers Manuel González from Malaga and Iván Jara from Seville, who reached the summit on 22 May 2000. Exactly 17 years later mountain athlete, Kílian Jornet Burgada from Sabadell, completed the first of two ascents in five days.

Jornet is said to have used no ropes, oxygen or sherpas as he climbed the north face of Everest, taking him 26 hours from base camp.

Just five days later, on 27 May 2017, the mountaineer reached the summit again, this time in 17 hours from Advance Base Camp.