70th anniversary of first ascent of Mount Everest
May 29, 2023 - On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first men to scale the world’s highest mountain, using the latest technology available at the time. Since then, more than 11,000 climbers have reached the summit of Mount Everest.
The success of the British expedition, led by John Hunt, was attributed to the use of excellent oxygen apparatus and protective gear.
Special oxygen equipment of two kinds were employed – an open circuit system, by which a certain percentage of fresh air is absorbed as well as pure oxygen, and a closed circuit system where the mountaineer receives 100 percent oxygen from the cylinder.
Assault boots were also designed to be lighter and provide better insulation against the harsh conditions.
The science behind survival in an extreme environment has improved significantly since then, with today’s equipment prioritising ultralight and highly efficient gear. Ice axe handles, for example, are now made of lightweight metal instead of wood. Everest climbers in the 21st century often carry half the weight of Hillary’s pack load.
With advancements in technology the world’s highest peak has become a favourite destination for wealthy tourists. By 2022 more than 11,000 people had reached the summit, sometimes hundreds in a single day.