Fiftieth Anniversary of Hillary On Everest
May 29, 2003
The above photo of Mt. Everest (upper left center) was taken from the Space Shuttle Atlantis (Mission STS-37) in early April of 1991. Fifty years ago today, Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, were the first to scale Earth's highest point and to safely return. Mt. Everest was recently measured to be 29,035 feet (8,934 m) above sea level. This pinnacle is referred to as the "roof of the world" and is called Sagarmatha by the Nepalese, and the Tibetans refer to it as Qomolangma or Chomolangma (Goddess-Mother). Mt. Everest is just one of the many impressive peaks in the towering Himalaya Mountain Range (in Sanskrit Himalaya means "abode of snow"). Notice the glaciers, which emanate from and near the base of Mt. Everest and are redistributing alpine snow and ice to lower elevations. The tan and taupe appearance of the glaciers at upper right results from dust and rock debris covering much of the ice.