60 yrs on, NZers still climbing Everest

  • Breaking
  • 27/05/2013

Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's conquest of Mt Everest.

The world's highest mountain still exerts a strong pull on New Zealand climbers and climbers around the world.

Nearly 4000 people have reached the summit of the mountain since Sir Ed and Tenzing Norgay did so in May 1953.

Amongst them is Wanaka-based Guy Cotter, who has made a living out of mountaineering. He says 60 years on, Sir Ed's achievement is still very much respected in the Himalayas.

"It was an inspirational piece of climbing," Mr Cotter says. "Nobody knew if you could do it or not; nobody knew whether they'd be able to survive on the small amount of oxygen they had and get back. I think that was a really gutsy effort."

But it's not just Sir Ed's climbing conquest that he is remembered for in Nepal. Mr Cotter says the schools and hospitals that Sir Ed helped fund and build have also left a lasting legacy.

"In Nepal, and especially up in the mountains here, there's a really strong appreciation of who Sir Ed was. There are pictures of him around everywhere. When you're a New Zealander over here, people acknowledge Sir Ed and his contribution."

Mr Cotter is currently making his way down after a successful summit of neighbouring mountain Lhotse. He says Wednesday will be a low-key affair for him and his climbing party.

"I'm going to be ironically spending the day dealing with the clean-up side of it and the bureaucratic side of expeditioning. It's not just about mountaineering these days; it's about making sure what we take to the mountains gets brought back."

But some climbers don't return. Around 200 have lost their lives on Everest's upper reaches since 1922, succumbing to the conditions that Sir Ed and Norgay defied 60 years ago.

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source: newshub archive