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, 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.
Photo: Alfred Gregory, 1953
Photo: Charles Wylie, 1953
Photo: John Hunt, 1953