National Geographic: Return To Everest


Now a painter,

surviving son Temba remains

a victim of iodine deficiency,

once common in the Khumbu.

"Hey, Temba!"

"Ah, what's that? What's that?"




Pivot on which so many destinies

have turned,

it was Everest that once joined

the widely separated lives of

Hillary and Tenzing Norgay,

his Sherpa partner

on their historic climb.

Now, amid the peaks on the trail

to Everest, they meet again.

Still strong at 69,

Tenzing and his daughter Deki

have come from Darjeeling

to join the anniversary festivities.

"Oh, Tenzing! Good to see you."


"Hi, Deki. How are you?"


"Very nice to meet you."

"Hi, Peter..."

"Hi. Long time, Tenzing.

It's good to see you again."

"Yes, did you have a good walk up?"

"Very well. Very fine, thank you."

In Britain today there will be

a more formal celebration,

but Hillary and Tenzing

have chosen to come here,

not only to be honored,

but to honor the families

of so many Sherpas

who have risked and often lost

their lives on many an expedition.

"Ah, that's good."


"Namaste, Tenzing."


For a moment two aging heroes

pause to honor each other,

look back to the victory

they shared.

Remote, seemingly beyond

the reach of human effort,

the towering mass of Everest

at mid-century had defeated

all attempts to reach the summit.

Then, as Nepal opened to foreigners,

assaults at last were possible

from the south.

In the British Expedition of 1953,

guide Tenzing Norgay,

already veteran of

five failed attempts,

would be teamed with Hillary,

who earlier had sighted

a possible route via the South Col.

With the return of

the first assault team

the challenge was passed

to Hillary and Tenzing.

The earlier team had reached

a point hardly 300 feet

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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