Raymond Lambert (18 October 1914 – 24 February 1997)was a Swiss mountaineer who together with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached an altitude of 8611 metres (just 237 metres from the summit) of Mount Everest, as part of a Swiss Expedition in May 1952. At the time it was the highest point that a climber had ever reached. There was a second Swiss expedition in autumn 1952, but a party including Lambert and Tenzing was forced to turn back at a slightly lower point. The following year Tenzing returned with Edmund Hillary to reach the summit on 29 May 1953.
He was born Raymond Jules Eugene Lambert in Geneva, where he made his home for his entire life. Lambert was member to a group of elite Genevois climbers. With this group, Lambert tested his skills against French, German and Italian rivals to become the first ascenders of the hardest new climbs in the Mont Blanc Range. Second ascents of the Croz Spur on the Grandes Jorasses and the North Face of the Drus (where his name is immortalised in the Fissure Lambert) put him at the forefront of international mountaineering; however, it was one climb in particular, in 1938, that gave Lambert true legendary status: a winter ascent of the Aiguilles Diables. Caught in a violent February storm, the climbing party found themselves stranded on the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul. Lambert was the only one capable of contacting rescue. After three days sheltering in a crevasse, all of Lambert's toes were severely frostbitten. Subsequently, all of his toes were amputated.
For more details on Lambert's first attempt, see 1952 Swiss Mount Everest Expedition.
Within a year after the amputation, Lambert was climbing again. His mountaineering career continued through the Second World War and in 1952 he was an obvious choice for Edouard Wyss-Dunant's Genevois expedition to Everest. Tibet was now closed to foreigners but Nepal had just opened up. The previous year Eric Shipton's British-New Zealand reconnaissance had climbed the Khumbu Icefall and reached the elusive Western Cwm, proving that Everest could be climbed from Nepal. Unfortunately for the British, who had enjoyed exclusive access to the mountain for 21 years, the Nepal government gave the 1952 permit to the Swiss. Building on Shipton's experience, the Genevans reached the head of the Western Cwm and climbed the huge face above to the desolate, wind-swept plateau of the South Col. Three Swiss climbers and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay continued towards the summit, pitching a tent at 8,400m. Two returned, leaving Tenzing and Lambert, who had become firm friends, to make a summit attempt. High altitude mountaineering in 1952 was still in its infancy. Even Swiss organisation and technology were not up to the job and, apart from Tenzing, the Sherpas had little experience. Despite the best plans, Tenzing and Lambert now had to spend a night at 8,400m with no sleeping bags and no stove, producing a trickle of drinking water by melting snow over a candle. The oxygen sets were barely operable and when the two men continued in the morning, they were effectively climbing without oxygen. They struggled heroically, at times crawling on all fours, hindered by the dead weight of malfunctioning oxygen sets, finally grinding to a halt near 8595m, approximately 250m short of the summit.Assuming that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine did not reach higher in 1924, this was the highest than anyone had ever been. Lambert's extraordinary determination was further confirmed that autumn when, alone out of the spring team, he returned for the second Swiss attempt on Everest. This time he and Tenzing were driven back from the South Col by the November jet stream winds and, to the immense relief of the British team, preparing for 1953, the Swiss admitted defeat.
Lambert returned to Nepal in 1954, trespassing across the Tibetan frontier to attempt Gaurisankar. Having failed at Gaurisankar, the expedition attempted Cho Oyu, but was turned back by high winds at about 23000 feet.Lambert returned again to Nepal in 1955 to make the first ascent with Eric Gauchat and Claude Kogan of Ganesh I (7,429m). Subsequent expeditions took him to Pakistan and South America. Then in 1959 he embarked on a completely new career and by 1963, now married with two children, he was a fully qualified glacier pilot, flying to remote and inaccessible icy areas - a vocation which brought him considerable fame until he finally stopped flying in 1987. Ten years later, aged 82, Lambert died near his home in Geneva due to complications of a lung disorder.
John Hunt recalls meeting Raymond Lambert in 1953 to learn as much as he could about the Swiss attempt on Everest: "Despite their disappointment, the Swiss were most helpful. However, Raymond told me tactfully, `Monsieur Colonel, vous aurez gros problemes', meaning, I think, that we hadn't a hope in hell." On 26 May 1953, exactly a year after Lambert's attempt, Hunt himself photographed the skeletal remains of the tent at 8,400m. Said Hunt: "It brought home the significance of their performance and made me force myself 50m higher up the ridge, to deposit the supplies for our final camp." Three days later Tenzing and Hillary reached the summit. On the way home, the team stopped off at Zürich airport and met the Swiss trail-blazers again. Lord Hunt recalls: "They offered us unreserved applause. In later years Raymond and I became close friends. He was not a demonstrative person, but the warmth of personality, once bestowed, was very precious to me."
Mount Everest is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The China–Nepal border runs across its summit point.
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand's High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal.
Tenzing Norgay, born Namgyal Wangdi, and also referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer. He was one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which he accomplished with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Cho Oyu is the sixth-highest mountain in the world at 8,188 metres (26,864 ft) above sea level. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan. The mountain is the westernmost major peak of the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalaya 20 km west of Mount Everest. The mountain stands on the China–Nepal border.
Mera Peak is a mountain in the Mahalangur section, Barun sub-section of the Himalaya and administratively in Nepal's Sagarmatha Zone, Solukhumbu District. At 6,476 metres (21,247 ft) it is classified as a trekking peak. It contains three main summits: Mera North, 6,476 metres (21,247 ft); Mera Central, 6,461 metres (21,198 ft); and Mera South, 6,065 metres (19,898 ft), as well as a smaller "trekking summit", visible as a distinct summit from the south but not marked on most maps of the region.
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. It is situated in the Himalayan range of Solukhumbu district, Nepal.
Thomas Duncan Bourdillon was an English mountaineer, a member of the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition which made the first ascent of Mount Everest.
Lopsang Tshering Bhutia was an Indian Sherpa mountaineer who died on Mount Everest and the nephew of Tenzing Norgay. His death made international headlines because he died on the 40th anniversary expedition of his uncle's summiting. His uncle, Tenzing Norgay, had died at home of natural causes in 1986 at the age of 72. Tenzing Norgay was the first person to summit Mount Everest in 1953 along with Sir Edmund Hillary.
In the history of mountaineering, the world altitude record referred to the highest point on the Earth's surface which had been reached, regardless of whether that point was an actual summit. The world summit record referred to the highest mountain to have been successfully climbed. The terms are most commonly used in relation to the history of mountaineering in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges, though modern evidence suggests that it was not until the 20th century that mountaineers in the Himalaya exceeded the heights which had been reached in the Andes. The altitude and summit records rose steadily during the early 20th century until 1953, when the ascent of Mount Everest made the concept obsolete.
Wallace George Lowe, known as George Lowe, was a New Zealand-born mountaineer, explorer, film director and educator. He was the last surviving member of the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition, during which his friend Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first known people to summit the world's highest peak.
Led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant, the 1952 Swiss Mount Everest expedition saw Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reach a height of about 8,595 metres (28,199 ft) on the southeast ridge, setting a new climbing altitude record, opening up a new route to Mount Everest and paving the way for further successes by other expeditions.
The 1953 British Mount Everest expedition was the ninth mountaineering expedition to attempt the first ascent of Mount Everest, and the first confirmed to have succeeded when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit on Friday, 29 May 1953. Led by Colonel John Hunt, it was organised and financed by the Joint Himalayan Committee. News of the expedition's success reached London in time to be released on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, on the 2nd of June that year.
Precipitated by unexpected permission from Tibet, the 1935 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition was planned at short notice as a preliminary to an attempt on the summit of Mount Everest in 1936. After exceptionally rancorous arguments involving the Mount Everest Committee in London, Eric Shipton was appointed leader following his successful trekking style of expedition to the Nanda Devi region in India in 1934.
Ang Tharkay was a Nepalese mountain climber and explorer who acted as sherpa and later sirdar for many Himalayan expeditions. He was "beyond question the outstanding sherpa of his era" and he introduced Tenzing Norgay to the world of mountaineering.
After World War II, with Tibet closing its borders and Nepal becoming considerably more open, Mount Everest reconnaissance from Nepal became possible for the first time culminating in the successful ascent of 1953. In 1950 there was a highly informal trek to what was to become Everest Base Camp and photographs were taken of a possible route ahead. Next year the 1951 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition reconnoitred various possible routes to Mount Everest from the south and the only one they considered feasible was the one via the Khumbu Icefall, Western Cwm and South Col. In 1952, while the Swiss were making an attempt on the summit that nearly succeeded; the 1952 British Cho Oyu expedition practised high-altitude Himalayan techniques on Cho Oyu, nearby to the west.
The 1951 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition ran between 27 August 1951 and 21 November 1951 with Eric Shipton as leader.
The 1952 British expedition to Cho Oyu the Turquoise Goddess was organised by the Joint Himalayan Committee. It had been hoped to follow up the 1951 Everest expedition with another British attempt on Everest in 1952, but Nepal had accepted a Swiss application for 1952, to be followed in 1953 with a British attempt. So in 1952 Eric Shipton was to lead an attempt to ascend Cho Oyu, and Griffith Pugh was to trial oxygen equipment and train members for 1953. But the expedition failed both aims; that plus Shipton’s poor leadership and planning resulted in his replacement as leader for the 1953 expedition.
After the first conquest of Mount Everest in 1953 by New Zealand's Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, efforts were made on the part of India to conquer the summit. The first Indian expedition to conquer Mount Everest by the Indian Army, which was led by Brigadier Gyan Singh in 1960, failed. Climbers Colonel Narendra Kumar, Sonam Gyatso, and Sherpa Nawang Gombu reached 28,300 feet just 700 feet from the goal, but due to extremely bad weather they had to turn back. The second Indian expedition by the Indian Army, which was led by Major John Diaz in 1962, also failed. Captain Mohan Singh Kohli, Sonam Gyatso, and Hari Dang reached nearly 400 feet below the peak at 28,600 feet, but had to give up due to bad weather. Mohan Singh Kohli was part of both these expeditions.