Introduction

The prose “The Summit” is an adapted excerpt from “The Ascent of Everest” by John Hunt. In this prose we will have a glance on the inspirational and determined journey of Edmund Hillary and his companion, Tenzing.

Sir Edmund Hillary himself had beautifully explained how he along with his fellow six men were excited for the journey to climb the mountain.

Journey Begins

He states at the beginning that it was only Tenzing and he, who were ready to take the risk of climbing the Highest mountain because his fellow companion “Pemba” was too ill to climb whereas the others were heavily burdened as they had already climbed that day to a height of 27,900 feet.

Hillary and Tenzing both crawled into the tent and wriggled into their sleeping bags. It was May 29, when they began to get ready for the climb. After consuming large quantities of lemon juice and sugar, they finally started their journey.

A Difficult Journey

On the top of the ridge, the soft snow was making their route both difficult and dangerous. However, after several hundred feet, they felt lucky enough to find two oxygen bottles left on the earlier attempt by Evans and Bourdillon. They were successful in leading up for last 400 feet to the Southern Summit. They persisted on their efforts despite the dangerous snow falling on their faces.

On cramponing the South Peak at 9 am, they cut a seat for themselves and removed their oxygen apparatus. Edmund was cutting a forty feet line of steps while Tenzing was belaying him .In a number of places the overhanging ice cornices were very large. In order to escape them,

Edmund had to cut a line of steps down to where the snow met the rocks on the west. That was a great thrill for him to look straight down and to see 8000 feet below him, the tiny tents of Camp 4 in the Western cwm.

Edmund Hillary says that for the first time they had felt the fierce determination that nothing could stop them from reaching the top. However, their original zest was vanishing as time was passing and the ridge seemed never ending.

He then noticed that the ridge ahead has dropped instead of rising. When he looked upwards to see a narrow snow ridge, he realised that they were on the top.

Finally Reached

After years of dreaming about it and seven weeks of climbing, New Zealander, Edmund Hillary and Nepalese, Tenzing Norgay reached the top of Mount Everest highest mountain in the world at 11:30 am on May 29,1953. It was how they became the first people to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest.

To the east, was giant neighbour Makalu, unexplored and unclimbed. Far away across the clouds, the great bulk of Kanchenjunga loomed on the horizon while, to the west they could see the great unexplored ranges of Nepal stretching off into the distance.

Meanwhile, Tenzing had made a hole in the snow and in it he placed a bar of chocolate, a packet of biscuits, and a handful of lollies, small offerings, but at least a token gift to the Gods that all devout Buddhists believe have their home on this lofty summit.

Way Back

After fifteen minutes, wasting no time, they moved down the summit on to their steps. They finally reached back on to the South Peak. At 2 pm they reached their tent and with a last look at it, which had served them so well, they turned downwards with dragging feet and started descending the ridge to the South Col.

George Lowe and Wilfrid Noyce with emergency oxygen and hot soup, came towards and met them a couple of hundred feet above the camp. They crawled into the tent and with a sight of delight, collapsed into their sleeping bags, while the tents flapped and shook under the perpetual South Col gale.