Everest pioneers' sons acknowledge hero

2013-05-30 07:34

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London - The sons of the men who conquered Everest paid tribute on the 60th anniversary on Wednesday to George Lowe, an unsung hero of the ascent team who died this year at age 89.

Lowe was the last surviving member of the British-funded 1953 expedition to the highest point on Earth.

Edmund Hillary's son Peter, and Tenzing Norgay's son Jamling were in London for the launch of a book of previously unpublished pictures put together by Lowe.

The Conquest of Everest - Original Photographs from the Legendary First Ascent includes landscapes, candid portraits and action shots from the historic expedition.

New Zealand-born Lowe died at a nursing home in Derbyshire, central England, in March. In 1953, he paved the way for Hillary and Norgay to make their assault on the summit.

Lowe was Peter Hillary's godfather and Peter named his oldest son after him.

Hillary said: "If you knew Ed Hillary all those years ago, he was a shy, awkward guy by his own confessions and it was George Lowe who brought him out of himself, kept him laughing and kept him in touch with other things that were going on.

"They were incredibly close."

He and Jamling Tenzing Norgay were joined at the launch by celebrated mountaineers, including Chris Bonington, Stephen Venables, Doug Scott and Kenton Cool, who earlier this month became the first person to scale in one climb the three peaks of Everest's Western Cwm (Welsh for a bowl-shaped valley).

"It was above all a great team effort," said Venables.

"They all worked very well together, and amazingly, although Hillary and Tenzing were the lucky ones who got to the top, there was never any rancour or bitterness from the other members of the team.

"They seem, throughout their lives, to have been remarkably harmonious, and you get the feeling they all were just proud to have shared in this special moment in history."

Scott added: "Back in 1953 it was a huge achievement. And basically, George Lowe and then Wilf Noyce and also the sherpa support team who did those monumental carries of heavy loads up the Lhotse face is what made the eventual ascent possible."

The sons of Hillary and Norgay were to join Queen Elizabeth II at a 60th anniversary event at the Royal Geographical Society in London later on Wednesday.

The news of their fathers' achievements took a few days to reach London and was published on 4 June, the same day as her coronation.

Read more on:    edmund hillary  |  nepal

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