May 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of the first summit of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hilary and his sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay. From today’s L.A. Times:

Nearly 50 years ago, on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, weary of body and mind but driven by a desire that burned deeper by the day, left their exhausted climbing party behind and marched to the top of the world.

Hillary, a humble beekeeper from New Zealand, and Norgay, a yak herder from Nepal, did something seven major expeditions dating more than 30 years couldn’t do.

They opened Everest to the world.

At a time when humanity was still reeling from the destruction of World War II, they showed that with hard work, determination and perseverance, people can realize their dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.

Watch “Surviving Everest,” a two-hour documentary which is part of the National Geographic Society’s 50th anniversary commemoration.


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