On May 26th Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans reached the South Summit of Everest at 28,700 feet, and looked for
the first time ever at the final ridge which leads to the top. It must have been bitter disappointment to these
two men to come so far and then have to turn back, but they had no time to go further. Theirs was one of the
outstanding feats of the expedition. It was no failure to reach the summit—it was the first ascent of the South
Summit of Everest. It was what we had always hoped they would do, that they would at least go as far as the South
Summit and look at the last stretch of the ridge. In reaching this point they climbed 3,000 feet from the South col
in the day, which was an astonishing performance at that altitude.
At this time Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay and their Summit support party of George Lowe, Ang Nima and Alfred Gregory, had reached the final camp in the South Col, an isolated, exposed location at an altitude of 26,000 feet.
Sir Edmund Hillary
Digital print signed & inscribed on Verso.
Original image size may vary slightly.
ID | EV60-8.1
Poor weather conditions on May 27th mean that the team must rest and prepare to continue when the weather permitted. On May 28th after a day of storm, which the team had sat out at the Col, the weather had now become fine and clear and the gale was dying, although occasional gusts of wind blew wind struck the ridge above them blowing little flurries of snow into their faces as they climbed. In the steep gully above, the summit support party cut steps up the hard, frozen snow which leads to the South-East ridge, preparing a route for Hillary and Tenzing. Ang Nima was the only Sherpa fit enough to go high that day, which meant that all the men were carrying loads of over 40lbs.