"They are the ones who do the actual groundwork. But because of the rise in the number of expeditions, the mountain ranges have become overcrowded. Regulations and controls are needed to ensure safety of the climbers, Das said."
Kolkata, May 29 - A photographic presentation here Thursday brought to life the triumphant moments of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, on the Nepali sherpa's 100th birth anniversary.

The event also commemorated the 61st anniversary of the historic feat.

New Zealander Hillary and Norgay reached the 8,850-metre summit of Everest May 29, 1953 as part of the ninth British expedition to attempt scaling the world's tallest peak.

The mountaineers stayed at the summit for about 15 minutes before beginning the long trek down the mountain.

Hillary and Norgay blazed a trail that has been followed by nearly 6,200 climbers.

Hillary (1919-2008) was 33 when he conquered Everest. Norgay, born in May 1914, was 39. After the epoch-making event May 29, the sherpa decided to celebrate his birthday on the same date every year.

Sujoy Das, a veteran photographer of the Himalayas, showcased Norgay's extraordinary life through pictures at an art gallery here. The pictures were sourced from various collections across the world as well from the sherpa's own archives.

Norgay passed away in 1986 in Darjeeling, West Bengal, at the age of 72.

We have got photographs from the 1953 climb, as well as from earlier expeditions in the 1920s and 1930s. There are photos of Tenzing Norgay's days in Darjeeling as well, Das, who has been trekking in the Himalayas for the last 30 years, told IANS.

The show is a dedication to the grit and glory of the sherpas, the ethnic group living at the foot of the mountains, who are preferred by foreigners for Himalayan expeditions due to their physical strength as well as for their honesty.

The boom in commercial expeditions since the 1990s has led to an increased demand for the tough guides of the mountains. However, this has also put the lives of the sherpas in danger.

The death of 13 sherpas and the disappearance of three in an avalanche on Everest last month has brought to the fore the extreme conditions they are exposed to.

They are the ones who do the actual groundwork. But because of the rise in the number of expeditions, the mountain ranges have become overcrowded. Regulations and controls are needed to ensure safety of the climbers, Das said.

More than 300 people have died on Everest since the first successful climb in 1953.


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