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Notable Records of Mountaineering on Everest

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Jan. 15, 2021

After the first recorded summit of Everest in 1953, now there are more than 4,000 different people have stood on the top of Everest over 7,000 times (some of them have climbed it more than once). Read on to learn more about the records of mountaineering on Mount Everest.

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Notable Summit Attempts

  • The first attempt by a British team: 1921 (included George Mallory)
  • First summit ascent: George Mallory, 38, and Andrew Irvine, 22, disappeared on their way to the summit in 1924. Irvine's ice axe was found in 1933 at 8,461m (27,760ft). Mallory's body was found in 1999 at 8,157m (26,760ft). Whether they reached the summit remains a mystery.
Mount Everest.Mount Everest.

First-of-a-Kind Ascents

  • 1. First confirmed ascent: 1953 - Edmund Hillary, NZ, and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, Nepal (Norgay had tried to summit six times previously.)
  • 2. First American to summit: James Whittaker, 1963
  • 3. First female ascent: 1975 - Junko Tabei (Japan)
  • 4. First summit without bottled oxygen: 1978 - Reinhold Messner (Italy) and Peter Habeler (Austria), in May 1978. Messner summitted solo without bottled oxygen in 1980.
  • 5. First winter ascent: February 1980 - Leszka Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki (Poland)
  • 6. First trek from sea level to summit: 1990 - Tim Macartney-Snape (Australia) without bottled oxygen
  • 7. First blind summiteer: Erik Weihenmayer (US) in 2001

Oldest and Youngest Climbers Records

  • Oldest male summit climber: 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura from Japan in 2013 (also at 70 and 75)
  • Oldest female summit climber: Tamae Watanabe, 73, from Japan in 2012.
  • Youngest summit climbers: Jordan Romero (the US, male, 13 in 2010) and Malavath Purna (India, female, 13 in 2014; one month younger than Romero)
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Records for Number of Ascents

  • Five ascents since 1990: Sir Edmund Hillary's son, Peter
  • The largest group to climb Everest: a 410-member Chinese team in 1975.

Other Summit-Top Firsts

  • 1. First couple married at the summit: Pem Dorjee Sherpa and Moni Mulepati on May 30, 2005.
  • 2. First to the summit after breaking three vertebrae: Bear Grylls, most famous celebrity summiteer, and youngest Brit to summit in 1998 aged 23, also flew above the peak in a powered paraglider in 2007.
  • 3. First Olympic torch: May 8, 2008, before the 2008 Beijing Olympics; lit by a group of Chinese mountaineers
  • 4. First tweet: sent by Kenton Cool in 2011 - "Everest summit no 9! 1st tweet from the top of the world thanks to a weak 3G signal"

Climbing routeMt. Everest Climbing Route from Northern Slope in China

Fastest Descents and Ski Descent 

  • Fastest descent: 11 minutes - Jean-Marc Boivin (France) on a paraglider in 1988.
  • First ski descent: 2000 - Davo Karnicar (Slovenia)

Deaths on Summit Attempts

  • Biggest causes of death: avalanches, followed by falls
  • First recorded deaths: 1922 - seven Sherpa porters killed by an avalanche on a British expedition.

Mountaineering Facts on Everest

  • Litter: 120+ tons, including oxygen tanks, tents, and other kits

Mt. Everest Climbing route from South Slope in NepalMt. Everest Climbing Route from South Slope in Nepal

Expedition Facts

  • 1. Average summit expedition cost: 30,000 USD per person including sherpas
  • 2. Nepal government Everest permit cost: 10,000–25,000 USD
  • 3. Chinese government Everest permits cost: technically free, but a Chinese travel agency (like us) must apply for the documents
  • 4. Bottled oxygen: typically needed from 7,900m (26,000 ft), making the last 900m (3,000 ft) possible for most climbers (average 3,000 USD)
  • 5. Summit expedition duration: average 2 months, including getting there and back and acclimatization
  • 6. Sherpas are hired to carry kit: Sherpas are a nomadic people of eastern Nepal, who also use "Sherpa" as their last name. Usually, their first name is the day of the week on which they were born. Sherpas can suffer altitude sickness like everyone else but are less likely to.
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