George Lowe, part of Edmund Hillary’s team that conquered Mount Everest in 1953, died on Wednesday at the age of 89. Obituaries can be read online – The Guardian‘s is here. There are now no living members of that pioneering expedition. Fortunately, their written accounts, the Conquest of Everest documentary, and various newsreels survive for future generations to enjoy. British Pathé sadly has no footage of the expedition itself (though there is material from earlier Everest expeditions), but we do have films celebrating the team members upon their return. You can view a selection here.
On the 3rd April, it will be the 80th anniversary of the First Flight over Everest. In 1933, a British team set off for the pioneering mission. Footage of the team can be found via this link.
The British Pathé archive also contains coverage of the 1924 expedition, the 1952 Swiss expedition, and the American expedition in the 1960s. All the Everest films can be found in this collection.
Tomorrow will be the 47th anniversary of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s Everest conquest. Still an impressive feat today, it is hard to conceive just how famous Hillary was following his successful expedition to the summit of the world’s highest mountain. Amost every world leader was popping the kettle on for Hillary, welcoming him into their palaces, temples, castles and luxury villas with open arms. British Pathé followed Edmund Hillary on his incredible 1953 publicity tour, and here are links to some of the footage they captured:
Sir Edmund passed away in 2008. As well as the clips highlighted in this blog post there are tonnes of old newsreels and videos related to Everest, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and mountain climbing videos in general. So make sure to browse the archive.
Only this month rugby hero Josh Lewsey failed to climb Everest, abandoning a group expedition in which only 4 members made it to the summit. Josh explained to BBC News that he was daunted by the physical challenge but also psychologically upset by the dead bodies they had to pass along the way, including one explorer who had died only 2 days before. The fact that internationally appraised rugby stars cannot faces the slopes of Everest go to show just how brave and skilled Hillary was, to achieve such a feat in the early 1950s.