Nepal Celebrates 65th Anniversary of First Ascent of Mt. Everest

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The spring 2018 Himalayan climbing season may be over and all of the teams have gone home, but that doesn’t mean that Mt. Everest is ready to give up the spotlight just yet. Today – May 29 – represents International Sagarmatha Day in Nepal, celebrating the date on which Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first went to the summit of the world’s highest peak. To commemorate the occasion, the Nepal government is honoring several record-breaking climbers and organizations on the 65th anniversary of the first ascents of the mountain.

According to The Himalayan News, Kami Rita Sherpa and Lhakpa Sherpa were both given the Tenzing Hillary Award for their recent summits of Everest. Kami set a new record for all climbers by claiming his 22nd successful summit of the mountain, while Lhakpa extended her record for female climbers to 9 summit. The award includes a Rs. 500,000 prize to each of them, which converts to about $4625.

Additionally, the Nepal Mountaineering Instructor Association was also honored for its work by receiving the National Sagarmatha Prize, which is worth Rs. 100,000 ($925). This award was given for the general work the organization does in preparing guides and climbing instructors within the country.

Awards were also given out to four Sherpa brothers who climbed the mountain together, setting a Guinness record, as well as another group of siblings who set a record for most summits by climbers from a single family as well.

As you can probably imagine, Mt. Everest brings a great sense of pride to the Nepali people, in part because it contributes to the country’s economy on such a high level, but also because it is such a natural wonder. Of course, this leads to celebrations each year on this date, but the 65th anniversary of Hillary and Norgay’s first ascent calls for an even more special occasion. It is unlikely that they could have ever predicated that the mountain would become as popular and crowded as it has in recent years. In 2018 alone, more than 700 people climbed to the summit, which would have seemed impossible not all that long ago.

On this Sagarmatha Day we salute all the Everest summiteers and the great history of the mountain.

Kraig Becker