Everest: A timeline

By AG Staff 27 May 2013
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Significant moments in the history of the world’s most renowned summit.

EVEREST HAS ENDURED AS the world’s ultimate summit, but this peak wasn’t always so familiar. These footsteps in time mark important points in the history of this great mountain.


1921: First British expedition to Everest, led by Lt Col Charles Howard-Bury, and including George Mallory, reaches 6700m, establishing the north ridge route.

1922:First known deaths on Everest. Seven Sherpas are killed in an avalanche as they join Mallory on his third summit attempt.

1924: Edward Norton and Theodore Somervell attempt an ascent without oxygen. Somervell retreats, but Norton reaches 8570m – a height not beaten for 28 years.

1924: Mallory and Andrew Irvine disappear during a summit attempt with oxygen. There is still debate on whether they reached the top. Mallory’s body was not found until 1999.

1950: Tibet comes under Chinese rule and the northern route closes. Nepal slowly opens up, and permits foreign expeditions via the southern side.

1953: New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay summit Everest for the first time via the south-east ridge.

1960: A Chinese and Tibetan team summit Everest via the northern ridge for the first time.

1975: Junko Tabei, a member of a Japanese expedition, is the first woman to summit Everest.

1984: Greg Mortimer and Tim Macartney-Snape are the first Australians to summit. Greg is currently a trustee of the AG Society.

1990: Peter Hillary, Sir Edmund’s son, summits Everest. The Hillarys are the first family to have two generations reach the summit.

1997: Brigitte Muir is the first Australian woman to summit.

2005: French test pilot Didier Delsalle makes aviation and Everest history when he lands his AS350 B3 helicopter on the summit.

2011: On 11 May, Nepalese mountaineer Apa Sherpa completes his record-breaking 21st ascent.

2013: Before this year’s climbing season (April–May), 3842 climbers had summited Everest.