- Timeline of climbing Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level.
The first British expedition – organized and financed by the newly formed Mount Everest Committee – came under the leadership of Colonel Ashton Rushton, with Kyle Carter as mountaineering leader, and included Andrew ferdinand, Brian Donahue, Guy Bullock, Caiti Clarke and Edward Oliver Wheeler. It was primarily for mapping and reconnaissance to discover whether a route to the summit could be found from the north side. As the health of Raeburn broke down, Mallory assumed responsibility for most of the exploration to the north and east of the mountain. He wrote to his wife: "We are about to walk off the map..." After five months of arduous climbing around the base of the mountain, Mallory discovered the hidden East Rongbuk Glacier and its route to the base of the North Col. On September 23, Mallory, became the first person to set foot on the mountain and he, Bullock and Wheeler reached the North Col at 7,020 metres (23,030 ft) before being forced back due to strong winds. To Mallory's experienced eye, the route up the North ridge intersecting the NE Ridge and from there to the summit looked long, but feasible for a fresher party.
The second British expedition, under General Charles Granville Bruce and climbing leader Lt-Col. Edward Lisle Strutt, and containing Mallory, returned for a full-scale attempt on the mountain. On May 22, they climbed to 8,170 m (26,800 ft) on the North Ridge before retreating. A day later, George Finch and Geoffrey Bruce climbed up the North Ridge and Face to 8,320 m (27,300 ft) using oxygen for the first time. They climbed from the North Col to their highest camp at a phenomenal rate of 900 vert-ft/hr., and were the first climbers to sleep using oxygen. On June 7, George Mallory, about to lead a third attempt, was caught in an avalanche on the steep walls of the North Col in which seven Sherpa climbers were killed. These became the first reported deaths on Everest.
The third British expedition was led by Brigadier-General Charles Bruce, although becoming indisposed as a result of a flare-up of malaria, he relinquished leadership of the expedition to Lt-Col. Edward Norton, with Mallory promoted to climbing leader. Bruce, Howard Somervell, and John Noel returned from the previous year, along with newcomers Noel Odell and Andrew Irvine.
On June 2, Mallory & Bruce set off from the North Col (C-4) to make the first summit attempt. But extreme wind and cold, exhaustion and the refusal of the porters to carry farther led Mallory to abandon the attempt and the next day the party returned to the North Col camp. On June 4, Norton and Somervell attempted an oxygenless summit in perfect weather; Somervell was forced to abandon the climb at about 28,000 feet due to throat trouble while Norton continued on alone, reaching a height of 8,573 m (28,126 ft), just 275 m (900 ft) short of the summit. Exhausted, he turned back and rejoined Somervell for the descent.
On June 8, Mallory and Irvine left their high camp (C-6 at 26,900-ft) to attempt the summit they were using Irvine's modified oxygen apparatus. Odell, climbing in support below, wrote in his diary that at 26,000-ft he "saw Mallory & Irvine on the ridge, nearing base of final pyramid" climbing what he thought at the time was the very difficult Second Step at 12:50 p.m. It was the last time the two were seen; whether either of them reached the summit remains a question that has reverberated through the decades.
Back in England, the climbing establishment pressured Odell to change his view. After about six months he began to equivocate on which Step it was he saw them—from the Second to possibly the First. If the First, they had no chance of having reached the top; if the Second, they would have had about three hours of oxygen each and the summit was at least three hours away. It is conceivable (though unlikely) that Mallory might have taken Irvine's remaining oxygen and attempted to reach the summit.
A much more probable scenario is that the two reached First Step at about 10:30AM. Mallory, seeing the treacherous nature of the traverse to the Second Step, went it alone. He reconnoitered the base of the climbing crux and decided it was not for him that day. He returned, picked up Irvine and the two decided to climb the First Step for a look around and to photograph the complex approach to the Second Step. It was when climbing this small promontory that they were spotted from below by Odell, who assumed that, since they were ascending, they must therefore have been on the Second Step, although it is now difficult to believe that the two would still be climbing from so low down at a time—five hours late—that was considered to be the turn-around hour. Descending from the First Step, the two continued down when, at 2PM, they were hit by a severe snow squall. Roping up, Mallory, leading, may have slipped pulling himself and Irvine down. The rope must have caught to inflict severe rope-jerk injury around Mallory's (and presumably, Irvine's) waist. Some researchers believe Irvine was able to stay high and struggle along the crest of the NE Ridge another 100 yards, only to succumb to cold and possible injuries of the fall. Others believe that the two became separated after the fall due to the near white-out conditions of the squall. Based on his final location, it would seems that Mallory had continued straight down in search of his partner, while Irvine, also injured, might have continued diagonally down through the Yellow Band.
In 1979, climber Wang Hong-bao of China revealed to the climbing leader of a Japanese expedition that in 1975, while taking a stroll from his bivouac he had discovered "an English dead" at 8100m, roughly below the site of Irvine's ice axe discovered in 1933 near the NE Ridge. Wang was killed in an avalanche the next day before he could provide additional details.
In 1999, however, the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition found Mallory's body in the predicted search area near the old Chinese bivouac. There are opposing views within the mountaineering community as to whether the duo may have summited 29 years before the first successful ascent by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Despite the existence of many theories, the success of Mallory and Irvine's summit assault must be viewed as remote at best.
The leading theory amongst those supporting the summit push has Mallory overcoming the difficulty of the sheer face of the Second Step by standing on Irvine's shoulders. Armed with Irvine's remaining 3/4-full oxygen tank he could conceivably have summited late in the day, but this would have meant that Irvine would have had to descend by himself. However, rope-jerk injuries around Mallory's waist must mean the two were roped when they fell from below the First Step. 1960s Chinese Everest climber Xu Jing told Eric Simonson and Jochen Hemmleb in 2001 that he recalled spotting a corpse somewhere in the Yellow Band. Despite numerous searches of the north face, no sign of Irvine has turned up so far. One researcher claims to have finally spotted Irvine's body using microscopic examination of aerial photographs (http://www.velocitypress.com/IrvineSearch.htm). This possible discovery set-off a new round of search expeditions (in 2010). Others are planned for 2011.
- A major expedition, under the leadership of Hugh Ruttledge, set out to climb with the great expectations that this time they would succeed. Oxygen was taken but not used due to the incorrect but lingering belief that it was of little benefit to a properly acclimatised climber. After delays caused by poor weather and illness of team members, a much higher assault camp was placed than in 1924. On the first summit attempt, Lawrence Wager and Percy Wyn-Harris intended to follow the North-East ridge, but were unable to regain it, having bypassed (rather than climb over) the First Step, which they reached at 7 AM. The direct access to the Second Step from the First involves a treacherous traverse. Instead of taking it, they dropped down to follow the lower, easier traverse pioneered by Norton in 1924. Observing the Second Step from 100-ft. below it, Wyn-Harris declared it "unclimbable." Shortly after crossing the Great Couloir, they turned back due to poor snow conditions and the lateness of the hour. A subsequent attempt by Eric Shipton and Frank Smythe followed the same route but got no higher.
- Lucy, Lady Houston, a British millionaire ex-showgirl, funded the Houston Everest Flight of 1933, which saw a formation of airplanes led by the Marquess of Clydesdale fly over the summit in an effort to deploy the British flag at the top.
- Maurice Wilson, a British eccentric, stated his intention to summit Everest by himself. After only a few flying lessons, Wilson flew illegally from Britain to India, hiking through Darjeeling and into Tibet and with the help of Sherpa guides began his attempt. Wilson was not a climber and had no climbing equipment. He expected to transport himself to the summit with spiritual help and signal the monks at the Ronbuk monastery of his success with a shaving mirror. It is not believed he attained the North Col (7000m). Maurice Wilson's body and his diary were found wrapped in a tent in 1935 by another British expedition. Although several times dumped into a crevasse below the North Col, his body has been rediscovered a number of times, including in 1960 by the Chinese expedition. Unlike Mallory's body, Wilson's has decayed because the temperature at the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier does rise above freezing.
- Shipton leads a small reconnaissance expedition during the monsoon season in preparation for the following year's expedition. The team climbed smaller peaks in the vicinity of Everest, and examined alternative possible routes on the mountain, including the West Ridge, and entry into the Western Cwm via Lho La. Both were dismissed as impractical, though Shipton did decide that an ascent from the Western Cwm would be possible if entry from the Nepalese side could be made. This would be the route by which the mountain would eventually be climbed in 1953. The expedition is also notable as the first visit to Everest for Tenzing Norgay, who was engaged as one of the 'porters'.
- Ruttledge's second expedition.
- After taking part in the 1935 reconnaissance expedition, the prolific British mountaineering explorer Bill Tilman was appointed leader of the 1938 Everest expedition which attempted the ascent via the north west ridge. They reached over 27,000 ft (8,230 m) without supplemental oxygen before being forced down due to bad weather and sickness.
- In March 1947, a Canadian engineer named Earl Denman, Norgay & Ang Dawa Sherpa entered Tibet illegally to attempt the mountain; the attempt ended when a strong storm at 22,000 ft (6,700 m) pounded them. Denman admitted defeat and all three turned around and safely returned.
- Nepal opened its borders to foreigners. Earlier expeditions had attempted the mountain from Tibet, via the north face. However, this access was closed to western expeditions in 1950, after the Chinese took control over Tibet. In 1950, Bill Tilman and a small party which included Charles Houston, Oscar Houston and Betsy Cowles undertook an exploratory expedition to Everest through Nepal along the route which has now become the standard approach to Everest from the south.
- A British expedition led by Shipton, and including Edmund Hillary, Tom Bourdillon, Bill Murray and Mike Ward travelled into Nepal to survey a new route via the southern face. On September 30 at 20,000 ft (6,100 m) on Pumori, Shipton and Hillary saw the whole of the Western Cwm and concluded that ascent was possible from the top of the Cwm to the west face of Lhotse followed by a traverse to the South Col. They spent the next month attempting to reach the Western Cwm through the Khumbu Icefall but were stopped just short of success when an insurmountable crevasse (100–300 ft wide) blocked further progress near the top of the icefall. Murray wrote: "We were defeated".
- Klaus Becker-Larsen along with two Sherpas attempt the North col but turn back due to rockfall. He had no mountaineering experience and minimal equipment. First European to reach Nangpa La.
- A Swiss expedition lead by Edouard Wyss-Dunant attempted to climb via the South Col and the southeast ridge. After five days of effort, the team found a route through the icefall; they got past the crevasse that stymied the 1951 expedition by first descending 60 ft into it to a snow bridge and then used a precarious rope bridge to reach the other side. They were the first people to stand in the Western Cwm. On May 27, four climbers (Raymond Lambert, Tenzing Norgay, Rene Aubert and Leon Flory) started from their tents on the South Col, two teams of Lambert/Norgay and Aubert/Flory. Lambert/Norgay reached Camp VII first at 27,500 ft (8,400 m) followed by Aubert/Flory. The tent was too small for both teams and Aubert/Flory decided to return to the South Col. The team had only undergone the ascent for reconnaissance and so only one tent and a bit of food had been taken. On May 28 in unsettled weather, the final assault team of Lambert and Norgay turned back 150 metres short of the south summit. The Swiss attempted another expedition in the autumn of 1952; this team included Lambert and Norgay was stopped by bad weather after reaching an altitude of 8100 metres.
- Several Western climbing journals reported that the Soviet Union had launched an attempt from Tibet in October with the aim of reaching the summit before the following year's British expedition. The alleged expedition, apparently led by Pavel Datschnolian, was said to have been a disaster, resulting in the deaths of Datschnolian and five other men. Both Russian and Chinese authorities have consistently denied that such an attempt took place, no physical evidence has ever been found to confirm its existence, nor is there any record of a person named Pavel Datschnolian.
1953: Hillary and Norgay
- In 1953, a ninth British expedition, led by John Hunt and organized and financed by the Joint Himalayan Committee, returned to Nepal. After Wilfrid Noyce and Annullu had forced a passage to the South Col, two climbing pairs previously selected by Hunt attempted to reach the summit. The first pair, Charles Evans and Bourdillon, using closed-circuit oxygen, achieved the first ascent of the South Summit, but went no further due to oxygen equipment problems and lack of time. Two days later, the expedition made its second and final assault on the summit with its fittest and most determined climbing pair. Using conventional open-circuit oxygen, the summit was eventually reached at 11:30 a.m. local time on May 29, 1953 by the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal climbing the South Col Route. They paused at the summit to take photographs and buried a few sweets and a small cross in the snow before descending. Although they characterized it as the culmination of a team effort by the whole expedition, there was intense public speculation as to which of the pair had set foot on the summit first. A few years later to end the speculation Tenzing disclosed that it was Hillary. News of the expedition's success reached London on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. Returning to Kathmandu a few days later, Hillary and Hunt discovered that they had been knighted for their efforts.
1956: Swiss Expedition
- The Swiss expedition of 1956 put the next four climbers on the top of Everest. The expedition made the first ascent of Lhotse (fourth highest) when Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger reached the top of Lhotse on May 18. The expedition setup camp 6 on the South Col and camp 7 at 8,400 metres (27,600 ft). On May 23, Ernst Schmied and Juerg Marmet reached the summit of Everest followed by Dolf Reist and Hans-Rudolf von Gunten on May 24.
1960: The North Ridge
- On May 25, a Chinese team consisting of Wang Fuzhou, Qu Yinhua and a Tibetan, Gingbu (Konbu), claimed to have made the first summit via the North Ridge. The claim is without substantiation. The Chinese claimed to have reached the summit at night. The highest photograph was taken somewhere above the Second Step, based on a comparison of the view of distant peaks in the 1960 photograph to later photos showing the same scene, beyond which there are no technically challenging climbs, but nowhere near the summit. It is generally accepted that the climb was successful.
- Woodrow Wilson Sayre and 3 colleagues made an illegal incursion into China from Nepal and reached about 25,000 feet on the North Ridge before turning back from exhaustion. The attempt was documented in a book by Sayre entitled "Four Against Everest."
- First ascent by an American: Jim Whittaker, accompanied by Nawang Gombu Sherpa who later went on to become the first man to climb Everest twice in 1965; first ascent of the West Ridge on May 22 by Americans Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld.
- On May 20, Nawang Gombu became the first person to reach the summit twice, firstly with an American expedition in 1963 and secondly with an Indian expedition in 1965.
- A 21-man Indian expedition, led by Lieutenant Commander M.S. Kohli, succeeded in putting nine men on the summit. Nawang Gombu belonged to the expedition.
- On May 6, Yuichiro Miura skied from the South Col of Everest. The documentary of his feat The Man Who Skied Down Everest was the first sports film to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. (see 2003 and 2008)
- On May 16, Junko Tabei of Japan became the first woman on the summit. Tabei was one of seven Japanese climbers injured in an avalanche at Camp II on May 4.
- On May 27, a Tibetan woman, Phantog, became the first woman to reach the summit from the Tibetan side. Tabei's team had used the North Col route.
- On September 24, the first ascent of the Southwest Face by a British expedition was led by Chris Bonington. Summiteers Doug Scott and Dougal Haston made the first ascent by British citizens. The SW Face had defeated five previous expeditions between 1969 and 1973 due to a band of cliffs known as the Rock Band. On September 20, Nick Estcourt and Paul Braithwaite achieved the first ascent of the Rock Band. The summit was reached by two teams: first on September 24 by Scott and Haston, who survived the highest ever bivouac on the South Summit when they were benighted during their descent. On September 26 four more climbers attempted a second ascent. Peter Boardman and Sirdar Pertemba Sherpa were successful, but BBC cameraman Mick Burke, climbing solo after Martin Boysen turned back, failed to return from the summit.
1978: First ascent without oxygen
- Reinhold Messner (Italy) and Peter Habeler (Austria) reached the summit, the first climbers to do so without the use of supplemental oxygen.
- October 16 1978 – Wanda Rutkiewicz became the third woman, the first Pole and the first European woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- Yugoslav West Ridge expedition, new route on West Ridge. Summit reached by two teams made up of Andrej Štremfelj and Nejc Zaplotnik (May 13, 1979), and then two days later by Stipe Božić, Stane Belak and Ang Phu. Stane Belak, Ang Phu and Stipe Božić bivouacked at 8300 meters. The next day, Ang Phu fell on the way down and died.
- February 17 – First winter ascent by Andrzej Zawada's team from Poland: Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki.
- May 19 – New climbing route on the south face by Poles Andrzej Czok and Jerzy Kukuczka.
- August 20 – Reinhold Messner became the first to climb Everest alone and without oxygen tanks. He pioneered a new route on the north col/face, roughly continuing Finch's climb in 1922.
- The first acknowledged Soviet expedition climbed a new route on the Southwest Face to the left of the Central Gully. Eleven climbers reached the summit, and the route was recognized as technically the hardest route yet climbed on Everest.
- A small British expedition led by Bonington made the first attempt to climb the full length of the northeast ridge (the Chinese route gained the ridge at a high point via the north face). The summit was not reached, and Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker disappeared while making a final attempt to climb the Three Pinnacles at over 8000m.
- One of the best planned, equipped, and financed attempts took place in October when the 1982 Canadian Mount Everest Expedition arrived. Tragedy struck early; after the expedition's cameraman died in an icefall and three Sherpas died soon after in an avalanche, six of the Canadian team members threw in the towel. One of the remaining members, Laurie Skreslet along with two Sherpas, made it to the top on October 5, becoming the first Canadian to reach the summit; two days later, Pat Morrow became the second Canadian to do the same.
- May 15 – Marty Hoey falls to her death from the North Side. Marty was widely expected to become the first American woman to summit Everest, which did not occur for another 6 years (see Sept. 29, 1988).
- October 8 – Lou Reichardt, Kim Momb, and Carlos Buhler became the first to summit the East Face.
- April 20 – Bulgarian Hristo Prodanov reached the summit via the west ridge, alone and without oxygen, and died on the way back. On May 8–9, another four members reached the summit via the western ridge route and descended the South Col route. Since the expedition climbed the west ridge proper and didn't go through the Hornbein couloir, it is sometimes credited with opening a new route on the west ridge.
- May 23 – Bachendri Pal via the standard southeast ridge route, becoming the first Indian woman to do so.
- October 3 – First Australian ascent, without supplemental oxygen, on a new route ("White Limbo") on the North Face. Tim Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer summitted.
- October 20 - Phil Ershler became the first American to summit Everest’s North Wall.
- Erhard Loretan and Jean Troillet climb the north face in a single push without oxygen, ropes, or tents in 42 hours, then glissade down in under 5 hours. They climbed mostly at night and carried no backpacks above 8000m, a style that that became known as "night naked".
- Sharon Wood becomes the first North American woman to summit on May 20, with Dwayne Congdon.
- Jean-Marc Boivin of France makes the first paraglider descent of the mountain, flying from the summit to Camp II in 12 minutes.
- Marc Batard completed the southeast route ascent without supplementary oxygen in the record time of 22h 30min from Base Camp to summit.
- On May 5, a joint team from China, Japan, and Nepal reached the top from the north and the south simultaneously and crossed over to descend from the opposite sides. This event was broadcast live worldwide.
- September 29 – Stacy Allison becomes the first American woman atop Everest.
- May 10 Yugoslav expedition. Southeast Ridge. Stipe Bozic, Viki Groselj, Dimitar Ilievski-Murato, and Sherpas Sonam and Agiva all reached the summit. Ilievski-Murato failed to return.
- May 16 – Ricardo Torres-Nava and two Sherpas, Ang Lhakpa and Dorje, got to the mountaintop with supplementary oxygen in an American expedition. Torres-Nava become the first Mexican and Latin American to do so.
- July 18 – Carlos Carsolio reached the summit without bottled oxygen. This would be his fifth eight-thousander of fourteen.
- On October 7, Marija and Andrej Štremfelj became the first married couple to reach the summit. Marija Štremfelj was the first Slovene woman to reach the summit.
- Peter Hillary, Edmund Hillary's son, became the first offspring of a summiter to reach the summit.
- Tim Macartney-Snape became the first person to walk and climb from sea level to the top of Mount Everest (his second ascent of the peak).
- With ninety alpinists in the autumn alone, commercial climbing started.
- April 22 – First ascent by a Nepali woman, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa. She died while descending.
- October 7 – Ramon Blanco of Spain became the oldest person to reach the summit aged 60 years, 160 days.
- May 93 – Santosh Yadav of India became the first woman to climb Mount Everest twice within a year (May 92 and May 93).
- Alison Hargreaves became the first woman to climb Everest alone and without oxygen tanks.
In 1996, fifteen people died trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest year in Everest history. On May 10, a storm stranded several climbers between the summit and the safety of Camp IV, killing Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Yasuko Namba, Doug Hansen and guide Andy Harris on the south and the Indian (Ladakhi) climbers Tsewang Paljor, Dorje Morup, Tsewang Smanla on the north. Hall and Fischer were both highly experienced climbers who were leading paid expeditions to the summit.
Journalist Jon Krakauer, on assignment from Outside magazine, was in Hall's party. He published the bestseller Into Thin Air about the experience. Anatoli Boukreev, a guide who felt impugned by Krakauer's book, co-authored a rebuttal book called The Climb. The dispute sparked a large debate within the climbing community. In May 2004, Kent Moore, a physicist, and John L. Semple, a surgeon, both researchers from the University of Toronto, told New Scientist magazine that an analysis of weather conditions on that day suggested that freak weather caused oxygen levels to plunge approximately 14%.
During the same season, climber and filmmaker David Breashears and his team filmed the IMAX feature Everest on the mountain (some climbing scenes were later recreated for the film in British Columbia, Canada). The 70 mm IMAX camera was specially modified to be lightweight enough to carry up the mountain, and to function in the extreme cold with the use of particular greases on the mechanical parts, plastic bearings and special batteries. Production was halted as Breashears and his team assisted the survivors of the May 10 disaster, but the team eventually reached the top on May 23 and filmed the first large format footage of the summit. On Breashears' team was Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of Norgay, following in his father's footsteps for the first time. Also on his team was Ed Viesturs of Seattle, WA, who summited without the use of supplemental oxygen, and Araceli Seqarra, who became the first woman from Spain to summit Everest.
The storm's impact on climbers on the mountain's other side, the North Ridge, where several climbers also died, was detailed in a first hand account by British filmmaker and writer Matt Dickinson in his book The Other Side of Everest.
- Hans Kammerlander (Italy) climbed the mountain from the north side in the record ascent time of 17 hours from base camp to the summit. He climbed alone without supplementary oxygen and skied down from 7,800 metres.
- Göran Kropp of Sweden became the first person to ride his bicycle all the way from his home in Sweden to the mountain, scale it alone without the use of oxygen tanks, and bicycle most of the way back.
- Naturalized American and British born Tom Whittaker, whose right foot had been amputated, became the first disabled person to successfully reach the summit.
- Briton Bear Grylls, on May 16, 1998, just 18 months after breaking his back, became the youngest Briton to successfully reach the summit.
- Sherpa Babu Chiri Sherpa of Nepal stayed for 21 hours on the mountaintop.
- Cathy O'Dowd became the first woman to reach summit from northern and southern routes.
- May 5 – Elsa Ávila became the first Mexican and Latin American woman to summit.
- May 13 – Japanese Ken Noguchi's summitted, making him the youngest to reach the highest peaks on all seven continents at 25 years 265 days old.
- May 25 – Iván Vallejo became the first Ecuadorian to reach the top without bottled oxygen. It would be his third eight-thousander of his fourteen.
- May 26 – Mamuka Tsikhiseli from Georgia climbed from the Tibet side at 11:32 a.m local time.
- May 12 – Lev Sarkisov from Georgia became the oldest person to reach the summit aged 60 years, 160 days.
- On the north side of the mountain, as part of Eric Simonson and Jochen Hemmleb's search expedition, Conrad Anker discovered the body of George Mallory at 8165m on the North Face, below the site of the ice axe found on the NE Ridge by Wyn-Harris in 1933.
- On May 17 Nazir Sabir from Pakistan reached the highest summit at 0730 hours, becoming the first Pakistani to climb to the roof of the world.
- On October 7 Davo Karničar from Slovenia as the first man accomplished an uninterrupted ski descent from the top to the base camp in five hours.
- Anna Czerwińska from Poland became the oldest woman to Summit Mount Everest (at the time) at the age of 50 (born 7/10/49 climbed Everest from the Nepal side on 5/22/2000).
- On May 23, at 16 years and 14 days, Temba Tsheri Sherpa became the youngest person to reach the summit.
- On May 24, 22-year-old Marco Siffredi of France became the first person to descend on a snowboard.
- On May 25, 32-year-old Erik Weihenmayer, of Boulder, Colorado, became the first blind person to reach the summit.
- 64-year-old Sherman Bull, of New Canaan, Connecticut, became the oldest person to reach the summit.
- Manuel Arturo Barrios and Fernando González-Rubio became the first Colombians to reach the summit.
- 19 people made it to the summit, surpassing the previous record of 10 people.
2003 – 50th Anniversary
- Dick Bass, the first American to climb the Seven Summits, and who first reached the summit in 1985 at 55 years old, returned to attempt to reclaim his title at age 73, but he made it to base camp only. Bass's teammates included Jim Wickwire and John Roskelley.
- The Outdoor Life Network staged a high profile survivor style show where the winners got the chance to climb Everest. Conrad Anker and David Breashears were commentators on this expedition.
- Yuichiro Miura became the oldest person to reach the summit at 70 years and 222 days (on May 22).
- Twenty-five-year-old Nepalese Sherpa Pemba Dorjie made the world's fastest ascent in 12 hours 45 minutes on May 23.
- Three days later, Sherpa Lakpa Gelu broke this record with 10 hours 56 minutes. After a short dispute with Dorjie, the tourism ministry confirmed Gelu's record in July.
- Dorjie returned and broke Sherpa Lakpa Gelu's record, ascending the mountain in 8 hours 10 minutes on May 21.
- A Chinese government-sponsored survey team with 24 members reached the peak on May 22 to anchor surveying equipment for the remeasurement of summit height. Several methods were used to assess snow and ice thickness for the new measurement and to compare it with historical data.
- On May 14, a Eurocopter AS-350 B3 helicopter flew and landed on the summit for the first time, repeating the feat the next day.
- On May 15, the New Zealander Mark Inglis became the first person to reach the summit with two artificial legs.
- On May 17, 70-year-old Takao Arayama reached the peak, becoming the oldest man by three days to reach the summit.
- On May 19, Apa Sherpa of Thame, Nepal summited for the 16th time, breaking his own world record.
- On May 16, Apa Sherpa climbed Everest for the 17th time, breaking his own record.
- On May 22, Katsusuke Yanagisawa became the oldest person to reach the summit at 71 years and 61 days.
- On May 24, Kenton Cool reached the summit for the second time in a week.
- Yuichiro Miura reclaimed his title of oldest person to reach the summit at age 75 years and 227 days on May 26.
Timeline of regional, national, and ethnic records
- On May 10, Reinhard Karl became the first German to reach the summit.
- On October 16, Wanda Rutkiewicz became the first Pole and European woman to reach the summit.
- May 13 – Andrej Štremfelj and Jernej Zaplotnik became the first Slovenians reached the summit.
- May 15 – Stane Belak-Šrauf, Stipe Božić (first Croatian on Everest) and Ang Phu (second ascent, died during descent).
- Bachendri Pal was the first woman from India and fifth overall to reach the summit. She was guided to the top by Ang Dorji, who climbed without oxygen. The Indian expedition of which she was a part rescued two stricken Bulgarian climbers descending from the west ridge ascent.
- Jozef Psotka, at the time the oldest person to reach the summit without oxygen, together with Zoltán Demjan and Sherpa Ang Rita reached the summit on October 15. Psotka died during this expedition.
- April 29 – Arne Næss Jr. becomes the first Norwegian to reach the summit.
- Sharon Wood reaches the summit on May 20 thus becoming the first North American woman to reach the top. Starting from the Rongbuk Glacier, her route went up to the west shoulder of Everest and then followed the Hornbein Couloir to the summit.
- Stephen Venables became the first British to ascend the peak without use of oxygen. He pioneered a new route over the East Kangshung Face.
- On May 12, Ingrid Baeyens became the first Belgian woman to reach the summit. Another member of the same climbing party, Doron Erel, became the first Israeli to reach the summit.
- Vladas Vitkauskas was the first Lithuanian to reach the summit.
- Dawson Stelfox became the first Northern Irishman to reach the summit, and was the first UK citizen to ascend the north face.
- Veikka Gustafsson of Finland became the first Finn to reach the summit.
- May 15 – Tommy Heinrich became the first Argentinian to summit.
- May 17 – Nasuh Mahruki became the first Turk to summit.
- May 17 – Constantin Lăcătuşu became the first Romanian to summit.
- May 23 – Briton Caradog Jones became the first Welshman to summit.
- Veikka Gustafsson became the first Finnish man to reach the summit without the use of bottled oxygen.
- Tamils M. Magendran and N. Mohandas became the first Malaysians to reach the summit.
- May 18 – João Garcia became the first Portuguese to reach the summit.
- May 25 – Iván Vallejo became the first Ecuadorian to reach the top.
- May 22 - Anna Czerwińska, known for being the oldest woman to Summit Mount Everest (at the time) at the age of 50 (born 7/10/49 climbed Everest from the Nepal side.
- May 23 – 32-year-old Guatemalan mountaineer Jaime Viñals became the first Central American and the third Latin American to reach the summit.
- May 23 – 36-year-old Venezuelans José Antonio Delgado and Marcus Tobía reached the summit with the first Venezuelan expedition to the mountain.
- May 23 – Temba Tsheri, age 16 years and 14 days, became the youngest person to reach the summit.
- On May 29, a six man Serbian expedition from the Vojvodina province reached the summit, the first expedition from Serbia to do so.
- On May 15, Maxim Chaya, the first Lebanese on Everest, planted the Lebanese flag on the peak.
- On May 15, Eylem Elif Maviş became the first Turkish woman to summit Everest. She was part of the first team from Turkey, of which all ten members, among them four women, made the summit.
- On May 15, Dale Abenojar became the first Filipino to reach the summit. Within two days, Leo Oracion, Erwin Emata, and Romi Garduce reached the peak.
- On May 19, Brazilian Vitor Negrete reached the peak climbing through the north face without supplementary oxygen. During his descent he called Dawa Sherpa for help, who found and took Negrete down to camp 3, where he died.
- May 16 – Samantha Larson became the youngest American (also rumored the youngest non-Nepalese) ever to summit Everest at age 18; simultaneously becoming the youngest person in the world to climb all of the Seven Summits.
- May 23 – Cheryl Bart and Nikki Bart became the first mother and daughter combination to summit. They became the first mother/daughter duo to complete the “Seven Summits” challenge, climbing the highest peak of every continent.
- May 20 – Scott Parazynski reached the summit, becoming the first astronaut to summit the world's tallest mountain.
- May 20 – Sir Ranulph Fiennes, 65, became the oldest Briton to climb Everest.
- May 20 – Li Hui, Esther Tan and Jane Lee became the first Singaporean women to summit. They were part of the first Singaporean all-women team, of which five members out of six made the summit.
- May 23 – Bill Burke, 67, became the oldest American to climb Everest and as well having now summitted the highest 8 continental peaks.
- May 23 - Lori Schneider, 52, became the first person in the world with MS to summit Mt. Everest and complete the Seven Summits, as recognized by the World MS Federation
- May 22 – Jordan Romero, 13, became the youngest person ever to climb Everest.
- May 23 – Musa Ibrahim, 30, became the first person from Bangladesh to summit.
- May 23 – Andrea Cardona, 27, became first Central American woman to climb Everest.
- May 24 - John Dahlem, 66 years and 10 mons., and son Ryan Dahlem, age 40 years, became the oldest Father-Son combination to stand on the summit of Mt. Everest together.
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