|Oxygen tank used on Hillary & Tenzing's climb, |
Science Museum, 23.03.2009
The ridge stretched on in a never-ending series of corniced bumps and as I continued cutting the trail round the back of them I wondered just how long we would have to go on. We were starting to tire. I had been cutting steps continuously for almost two hours and wondered rather dully whether we would have enough strength left to get through. I cut around the back of another hump and saw that the ridge ahead dropped away and that we could see far into Tibet. I looked up and there above us was a rounded snow cone. A few whacks of the ice-axe, a few cautious steps and Tenzing and I were on top. The time was 11.30 am.
We stayed 15 minutes, removing our masks and so conserving oxygen. After an hour we were back on the South Summit; moving gingerly down the great snow slope, we were able to shrug off the sense of fear that had been with us all day. At 2 pm we were at Camp IX, where we brewed some lemonade before setting off on the long trek down the ridge. We were both very tired, but not too tired to make the last effort of cutting steps down the couloir where yesterday's tracks had already been blotted out. On the Col we were greeted by Lowe and Noyce; the latter had come up that day in support with Passang Phutar, both making their second trip to the Col.
- Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), 'Everest by Storm', in John Keay, ed., Travel in Dangerous Places, London, 2010.
[Hillary and Tenzing reached the summit of Everest on 29 May 1953]
Newsreel - Hillary returns to Auckland and is interviewed by his brother Rex, 1953