May 29th 1953: Hillary and Norgay reach Everest summit
On this day in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first people to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain: Mount Everest. Many previous attempts to scale the peak had failed, but New Zealander Hillary and Nepalese Norgay reached the top (29,028 feet) at 11.30am local time on May 29th 1953. Norgay later revealed that Hillary had been the first to step onto the summit. The pair spent only 15 minutes taking pictures at the summit before they began their descent. Norgay left chocolates in the snow as an offering and Hillary left a cross that he had been given by John Hunt (leader of the expedition). News of their success reached London on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation on June 2nd and upon arrival in Kathmandu Hillary and Hunt discovered they had been knighted.