The Hillary Step


Photos courtesy of International Mountaion Guides /


Rising sheer and forbidding, from a razor traverse that vanishes, like nerve, on the precipice; a drab rib of ancient sea floor, elevated, as if by destiny, in the grinding ascension of tectonic crust, to paramount significance - Mount Everest’s final impediment, protector of the crown - reserved, on the apex of earth, in the glorious panorama of the Himalaya massif on a clear day, for a gentleman of undaunted disposition, who perceives before him not the nemesis of mortal obsession, but instead, a possible way up. A man willing to conquer his gut-fear and climb, on the precarious purchase of crampons and ice axe and partner’s belay, in the spring cleft between rock wall and enamel ice, to glory. Yet honors conferred in gilded chambers and the acquisitions of conquest do not enter the psychology of a man committed to an astonishing feat as this - for him, in the spirit of alpinism, it is purely a question of self belief. May we forever be inspired. The Hillary Step (8,760 m / 28,740 ft) - conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on 29th May, 1953 - en route to the summit