BRITISH MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION 1953. This was the ninth mountaineering expedition to attempt the first ascent of Mount Everest and the first confirmed to have succeeded when New Zealander Edmund Hllary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit on Friday 29th May 1953. The expedition was led by Colonel John Hunt and was organized and financed by the Joint Himalayan Committee. A series of advanced camps were created, slowly reaching higher up the mountain ; Camp II at 19,400 feet was established by Hillary, Band and Lowe on 15th April / Camp III at the head of the Icefall at 20,200 feet on 22nd April and Camp IV by Hunt, Bourdillon and Evans on 1st May. These three made a preliminary reconnaissance of the Lhotse Face on 2nd May and Camp V at 22,000 feet was established on 3rd May. On 4th May, Bourdillon and Evans (supported by Ward and Wylie) reached Camp VI at 23,000 feet on the Lhotse Face and just under a fortnight later on 17th May, Wilfrid Noyce and Lowe established Camp VII at 24,000 feet. By 21st May, Noyce and the Sherpa Annullu (the younger brother of Da Tenzing) had reached the South Col at just under 26,000 feet. The first of two climbing pairs previously selected by Hunt (Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans) set out for the summit on 26th May using closed-circuit oxygen and successfully achieved the first ascent of the 8,750 m (28,700 ft) South Summit, coming within 100 m (300 ft) of the final summit. They were forced to turn back after becoming exhausted, defeated by oxygen equipment problems and lack of time. On 27th May, the expedition made its second and final assault on the summit with the second climbing pair ; Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. (Norgay had previously ascended to a record high point on Everest as a member of the Swiss Expedition of 1952). They reached the summit at 11:30 am on 29th May 1953, climbing the South Col route. Before descending, they stopped at the summit long enough to take photographs and to bury some sweets and a small cross in the snow. News of the expedition's success reached London in time to be released on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation on June 2nd. Both Hillary and Hunt were then later knighted by the young Queen. Edmund Hillary died in 2008 aged 88 from a heart attack. Tenzing Norgay died in 1986 aged 71 from a celebral hemorrhage. John Hunt died in 1996 aged 82. The Expedition organising secretary Charles Wylie died aged 86 in 2007.



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John Hunt

Reference Number. 14084B


An original vintage 1958 index card, clearly signed in ink by John Hunt

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