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Tenzing Norgay GM
Tenzing Norgay, (1914–1986) went to Everest as a high-altitude porter on the 1935, 1936, and 1938 Expeditions. In 1952, he was a climbing member of the Swiss expedition's attempt on Everest. With Raymond Lambert, he reached 28,200 feet (8595 m) in the spring campaign. The following year, with Edmund Hillary, Tenzing completed the same route, thus making the first successful summit ascent.
Born in the village of Moyey in Tibet, raised in Nepal, and a resident of India for most of his life, Tenzing never learnt to read or write, but had an active mind and was fluent in several languages. He spent most of the war years in Chitral. In 1947 he became a sirdar of a Swiss expedition for the first time, following a magnificent performance in the rescue of sirdar Wangdi Norbu who had fallen and been seriously injured. He then went to the top of Kedarnath – a first ascent. At that time, few, if any other Sherpas seemed interested in climbing per se, but Tenzing was exceptional in this and in other ways. He was a man of great character and warmth to other people. After Everest, he became Director of Field Training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, traveled widely, and set up a trekking business with the help of his wife.
 
Tenzing looking
Tenzing Norgay.
Photo: Alfred Gregory, 1953
Tenzing and mother
Kinzom, Tenzing Norgay’s mother greeted her son, Tenzing Norgay on his arrival with the 1953 Expedition at Thyangboche monastery. Kinzom wanted to see that her son was fit and well. On ascertaining this, she gave Tenzing her blessing to climb Everest.
Photo: Charles Wylie, 1953
 
Tenzing, 1953
John Hunt, leader of the 1953 Expedition recalled that Tenzing was happiest when climbing. In 1953 the team climbed several lesser peaks in the Everest region to test equipment and fitness. When climbing together on Chukhung Peak (19,400 feet/5913 m) Hunt realized how fit Tenzing was: “It showed me not only what a capable mountaineer he is, but also that he was, even at that time, fitter than any of us."
Photo: John Hunt, 1953