"Knocking the bastard off"

In case you haven't heard, today marks the 50th anniversary of the first successful climb of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. With the exception of man landing on the moon, reaching the summit of Everest might have been the most significant achievement in exploration during the 20th century. I've read three books by Hillary and both books by Tenzing Norgay, and it is simply a good story with a rich history, interesting characters, and that sense of adventure that is inside nearly all of us.

A lot has changed on Everest in 50 years, especially with the onset of guided climbing and increased access to the mountain. Most of the old-timers don't think most of those changes are for the better, and a lot of younger climbers agree with them. Will that stop people from trying to reach the highest point on Earth? Of course not. Everest is only getting more popular, and that trend is unlikely to change. Of course, if you are looking for high adventure in a less crowded spot, you can always try K2, Nanga Parbat, one of the Gasherbrums, or some other lofty (and difficult) Himalayan peak. And don't ever use the excuse that "it's all been done before". Sure, maybe by someone else, but not by you. There are still routes on the world's great mountains waiting to be climbed - anybody want to try Antarctica's Mt. Vinson...in winter?

More about the 50th anniversary of Everest from the Royal Geographic Society - http://www.rgs.org/templ.php?page=Everest50

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