Standing 8,850 metres tall, Mount Everest is perhaps the most iconic mountain in the world, and is certainly among the most sought-after destinations for travellers who love to challenge themselves. From the Everest Base Camp trek to the bold attempts made on the summit itself, it is the site of countless new adventures every year, and those who make their way along the trails this might mountain follow in the footsteps of the legendary mountaineers who have climbed it in their time.
2013, which marks the 60th anniversary of that historic moment when the summit was successfully reached for the first time by Sir Edmunt Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, is an especially inspiring time for travellers to make that trek – and there are several places on the route where they can connect to the history of Everest exploration. Read on to learn more.
The destination of an Everest Base Camp trek is, of course, the 5,300 metre high Base Camp itself – but for those headed to the summit, this is far from the end of the journey, and there are a number of obstacles yet to be overcome.
One of the most dramatic of these obstacles is the famous Khumbu Icefall, which cascades down the mountainside and presents the potentially treacherous challenge of crossing it in order to continue the climb.
7 hours from Base Camp on foot, it is caused by a faster-flowing section of the mighty Khumbu Glacier, and if it looks like a formidable challenge today it must have seemed terrifying to the first climbers to attempt reaching the top of Everest – not that this stopped Sir Edmund Hillary from finding a way across on the famous 1953 expedition.
The Everest Base Camp trek route features plenty of striking sights, many of which have their own share of interesting history – and one of the most interesting is Thyangboche Monastery, which is not only a great place for visitors to the region to gain insight into Sherpa culture and religion, but has taken its place in Everest history as the monastery where Tenzing Norgay, born nearby, spent time as a monk – before deciding that mountaineering was his true calling.
Because of its fame, Thyangboche Monastery is popular among Sherpas and climbers from around the world who wish to pray for a safe journey as they venture further into the mountains.
Known as a place to rest and acclimatise before continuing on the Everest Base Camp trek, Namche Bazaar is also a great location for those who are interested in learning more about the history of Everest climbing, especially among Sherpas, thanks to the Mount Everest Documentation Centre, which features a collection of photographs and resources documenting Sherpas who have climbed Everest.