The 70th anniversary of the first successful conquest of Mount Everest is being celebrated this year in spite of the dramatic melting of the mountain’s glaciers caused by global warming. On May 29, 1953, the legendary mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal made history when they became the first people to set foot on the summit of Everest, the world’s highest peak. As a result, 29th May is officially recognized as ‘International Everest Day’.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary and honor the legacy of the two mountaineers, several organizations are planning celebrations around the world including special events on the mountain itself. A special flag-raising event is also being planned at Base Camp in Nepal on 29th May.
However, climbers celebrating on the mountain will also get a strong reminder of the environmental impact of global warming. The iconic Khumbu glacier, which Sir Edmund and Tenzing ascended in 1953 to reach the summit, is now wasting away due to rising temperatures, along with other glaciers on Mount Everest.
Despite these sobering effects of climate change, mountaineers and fans of the sport are still eager to honor the anniversary and celebrate the incredible feat of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. In the words of Pasang Tenzing Sherpa, Chairman of the International Mountaineering Expedition Operators Association Nepal: “It is our duty to protect our mountains and the environment so that our future generations can also experience the awe of Everest.”