Many people are longing to reach the highest mountains. Like these mountaineering elites, there are many who actively followed their passion and conquered the world’s highest peaks!
Obviously, Sir Edmund Hillary tops (and will top) almost every “best mountaineer of all time” list. The New Zealand mountaineer and explorer became one of the first climbers to reach the South Peak of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, with Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Both Hillary and Norgay were part of the British expedition to Everest led by John Hunt.
Hillary was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. He was also the first man who reached both Poles. After his ascent to Mount Everest, Hillary dedicated much of his later life to helping the Sherpa people.
Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the second man who reached the peak of Mount Everest, just behind Sir Edmund Hillary. He accomplished this feat along with Hillary when they were both parts of the British expedition to the Mount Everest, on May 29, 1953 — which also happened to be Norgay’s birthday.
Born Namgyal Wangdi in 1914, Norgay started his mountaineering career at 19 years old. His charming smile caught the attention of British mountaineer Eric Shipton who took Norgay on in his British Mount Everest reconnaissance in 1935. From then on, Norgay joined several expeditions, until he reached the peak of Mount Everest which could well also be the peak of his career.
After reaching the Everest summit, Norgay served as a director of field training of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India.
Along with Hillary, Norgay was also named by Time as one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer and explorer who has the distinction of being the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest without supplementary oxygen.
Messner’s first successful expedition to the Himalayas was in Nanga Parbat in 1970. He eventually became the first climber who made the successful ascent to fourteen “eight-thousanders” that include, of course, the Mount Everest. He has written over 60 books which have been translated into several languages.
Lino Lacedellis was an Italian mountaineer and explorer who, along with Achille Compagnoni, became the first man to reach the K2, the second highest peak in the world. Lacedelli and Companogni together accomplished this feat on July 31, 1954.
Carlos Carsolio is a Mexican mountaineer who has the distinction of being the first non-European climber to ascend all the fourteen “eight-thousanders” in the world. He’s also the second youngest to achieve such feat.
Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 16, 1975. She used the same route as Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay took.
Tabei also became the first woman to reach the Seven Summits — Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), Aconcagua, Mont Blanc, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus, Puncak Jaya, and Mt. Kosciuszko apart from Mt. Everest. Of course, she also climbed Mt. Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain and national icon.
Andrew Lock became the first Australian to reach the peak of all fourteen “8,000-ers,” and he did this achievement without supplemental oxygen. He has reached the summit of Mount Everest twice.
Lock has also accomplished six first Australian ascents as well as four solo ascents. He preferred climbing in smaller groups, and either without a Sherpa or supplemental oxygen.
Oiarzabal is a Spanish Basque mountaineer who became the sixth man to ascend all the fourteen “8,000-ers,” as well as the third man to reach all of them without the aid of oxygen. Oiarzabal also became the first man to reach the top three highest peaks twice (Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga).
However, his passion for climbing would cost him something dearly. In 2004, Oiarzabal lost all his toes while descending from K2.
Oirzabal was 53 when he reached Kangchenjunga, making him the oldest climber to climb there at the time.
Silvio Mondinelli became the 13th man to reach all the fourteen “8,000-ers,” and the sixth person to do so without the aid of auxiliary oxygen. The Italian mountaineer was 49 years old when he reached the last of the 14 summits, the Broad Peak, in 2007. He started this task when he successfully summited the Manaslu in 1993.
Malavath Poorna is included here in this list because of one unique distinction: her youth. This girl from India was only 13 years and 11 months old when she reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 25, 2014, becoming the youngest-ever person to do so.
The record for the youngest person to reach the peak of Everest was previously held by the American climber Jordan Romero. He was just one month older than Poorna when he summited there in May 2010.
Being a minor, Poorna was accompanied by Sandhana Palli Anand Kumar who hailed from Khammam.