On To The Summit: We Reach The Top Lesson Summary & Explanation in English


Tenzing and Hillary set out from Camp Nine early on Friday morning to continue their journey to the Top. Tenzing was determined to conquer the peak even at the cost of his life. They took turns to take the lead because the one that follows has the difficult job of acting as the anchor for the team. Tenzing was carrying the flags of Great Britain, Nepal, India, and the United Nations to plant them at the summit.

After an hour of steady climbing, they had to cut across the south face and begin climbing the west side where they had to cross a steep line of rocks. This proved to be difficult and thus took some time. However, once they had cleared these, they only had to make it past a snow-covered incline.

This became progressively easier as the steepness of the incline decreased as they neared the top. Although the last sixty or seventy feet up the top were not very dangerous, they maintained the same steady pace and reached the small, flattened summit almost together. The rope that was tied between them was a symbol of their teamwork and companionship.

Important names

  1. Edmund Hillary: Mountain climber and Antarctic explorer who, with the Tibetan mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest
  2. The narrator: Tenzing Sherpa a Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer.[2][3] He was one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  3. (C.W.F.) Noyce: Cuthbert Wilfrid Francis Noyce (31 December 1917 – 24 July 1962) was usually known as Wilfrid Noyce. He was an English mountaineer and author. He was a member of the 1953 British Expedition that made the first ascent of Mount Everest.
  4. (W.G.) Lowe: Wallace George Lowe (15 January 1924 – 20 March 2013), was known as George Lowe. He was a New Zealand-born mountaineer, explorer, film director, and educator.

The narrator and Hillary were determined to reach the top of the world

When the narrator and Hillary left Camp Nine on Friday morning he was determined to get on the top of the mountain even if at the cost of his death. He wasn’t afraid if he died that day. They started early and lead the journey alternatively, sometimes the narrator took the lead, and sometimes Hillary. The man who would be behind had the most difficult job both in climbing up and down like an anchor. The man leading cuts the steps and breaks the way.

When the narrator was in camp four Colonel Hunt gave him three flags of Britain, the United Nations, and Nepal which he was asked to plant at the top of the mountain when they reach. The narrator asked for permission to let him plant the Indian Flag as well which he had brought with him.

Colonel Hunt was glad that he had an Indian flag and after an hour they cut across the south face and started the west side which had a steep line of rocks. This way took time and was difficult to cross. After this there were no barriers left except a snow-covered incline, sloping less and less as they get nearer to the top.

The beginning of their journey to Mount Everest

The last sixty to seventy feet up was not very dangerous and they kept moving at the same pace. During the last fifty feet from the peak, Hillary and the narrator were almost twenty feet apart but were tied with a rope which helped them stay together in difficult situations. They were not different individuals but a team.

The narrator has been asked by many who was the first to reach the summit to which they had no answer as climbing is not about reaching first but overcoming the barriers. Their main thought was that both of them reach the top, one couldn’t have done it alone.

The narrator and Hillary reach Kathmandu

The narrator and Hillary had become a controversy when they reached Kathmandu yet it didn’t affect them. They decide to sign a pact in the office of the Prime Minister of Nepal which stated that they will not be a part of any controversy and embrace every part of the journey.

The narrator’s first thought on reaching the top was gratitude to God. He and his wife are Buddhists, e wanted to kneel but couldn’t because of the clothes and the equipment yet he offered a silent prayer in his heart. He offered biscuits, candy, and a little blue pencil that his daughter Nima had given him when he was leaving home so that he would put it on top of the mountain as her offering.

The narrator plated the flags along with his offerings and Hillary took picture of it. The narrator was very thirsty and when he took out his metal container, the water was frozen and he couldn’t satisfy his thirst so he ate some biscuits and offered them to Hillary.

The narrator expressed his gratitude

He wore a scarf that his friend gift him up the mountain, remembered him, and felt as if he was with him. The narrator didn’t feel tired and was happy at that moment. All the hills and mountains looked like gods and goddesses to him which also looked like broken pieces of the map.

Only two or three people could stand on the top of the world. Twenty to thirty feet below there was enough space for two people to sleep. They stayed on the top for a little more than fifteen minutes and the next thought was to get down safely. The climb down was more dangerous than climbing up.

Climbing down took less time but it needed more caution. When they reached camp nine is when they were relieved that they reached safely. The narrator and Hillary were not in the mood of talking to and rested for a while. Just above camp eight were others who could see them and the narrator gave a thumbs up. Noyce and Lowe saw and flushed out of joy, this way the narrator could tell them that their journey was a success.

By the time they reached camp eight which was another fifty feet down Noyce brought some tea which smelled like kerosene and they enjoyed it anyway as the gentleman took the trouble to bring it to them.


The narration is a real-life experience of Tenzing Norgay also referred to as Sherpa Tenzing and Edmund Hillary who were the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. In this particular lesson, Tenzing describes the climb to the top and all events that occurred during the historic climb.