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TENZING NORGAY & THE SHERPAS OF EVEREST Tashi Tenzing 2001 1st ed DJ
By Tenzing, Tashi.
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NY, 2001, 1st edition. 296 pp, 100 photos. Tenzing and Hillary's ascent of Everest in 1953 was the defining moment of 20th century exploration. His grandson, who summited Everest in 1997, tells the inside story of Tenzing Norgay, who shunned fame and wealth for a life devoted to championing the Sherpa people. New Hardcover with Dust Jacket.

Tenzing Norgay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, with some additions.

Tenzing Norgay (May 29(?) 1914 May 9, 1986) was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer. He and Sir Edmund Hillary were the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Tenzing was not only the greatest Sherpa climber of his generation, he was also the first common born Asian of any nationality to achieve world wide fame.

Tenzing grew up in a peasant family in Khumbu in Nepal, very near Mount Everest, which the Sherpas called Chomolungma. At the time he climbed Everest it was generally believed that he was born there, but in the 1990s it was claimed that he was actually born in Tshechu, now Tibet Autonomous Region, present-day China, but this was kept secret for political reasons.

He was originally called 'Namgyal Wangdi', but as a child his name was changed on advice from a lama ('Norgay' means 'fortunate'). His father was Ghang La Mingma (who died in 1949) and his mother was Kinzom (who lived to see him climb Everest); he was the 11th of 13 children, most of whom died young.

His exact date of birth is uncertain, but he knew it was late May from the weather and the crops. Later, he decided to treat May 29 as his birthday, as this was the date he climbed Everest. He ran away to Kathmandu twice as a boy, and eventually settled in the Sherpa community in Too Song Bhusti in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India.

He took part as a high-altitude porter in three official British attempts to climb Everest from the northern Tibetan side in the 1930s starting in 1935. Tenzing also took part in other climbs in various parts of the Indian subcontinent, and for a time in the early 1940s he lived in what is now Pakistan; he said that the most difficult climb he ever took part in was on Nanda Devi East, where a number of people were killed.

In 1947,he took part in an unsuccessful summit attempt. An eccentric Englishman named Earl Denman, Ange Dawa Sherpa, and himself entered Tibet illegally to attempt the mountain; the attempt ended when a strong storm at 22,000 feet pounded them. Denman admitted defeat and all three turned around and safely returned.

In 1952, he took part in two Swiss expeditions and teamed up with Raymond Lambert, the first serious attempts to climb Everest from the southern Nepalese side, during which he and Lambert reached the then record height of 8,599 m (28,215 ft). Lambert and Tenzing always knew that Tenzing could have summited on this climb, and Tenzing always regretted that he did not succeed with Lambert, a true friend, rather than with Hillary with whom he was never close.

In 1953, he took part in Sir John Hunt's expedition, his own seventh expedition to Everest, in which he and Hillary became the first men to reach the summit. Afterwards he was met with adulation in India and Nepal, and even literally worshipped by some people who believed he must be an incarnation of Buddha or Siva. Tenzing and Hillary were the first people to set their feet on the summit of Mount Everest, but journalists were persistently repeating the question which of the two men had the right to the glory of being the first one, and who was merely the second, the follower.

Hillary and Tenzing answered that question in characteristically different ways. In his book, Hillary described himself as the strong leader of the team, who not only was working hard making steps in the snow for both of them, but also had to pull Tenzing up those steps, and that Tenzing kept falling to the ground, extremely exhausted. Tenzing's account a few years later sounded very different: he stressed the unity of such teams and of their achievements, shrugged off the allegation of being ever pulled by anyone, but disclosed that Hillary was the first to put his foot on the summit. He concluded: 'If it is a shame to bethe second man on Mount Everest, then I will have to live with this shame'. Recently his sons have revealed that Tenzing told them that he, Tenzing was first to summit, but Ed Hillary insists it was himself.

Tenzing was married three times. His first wife, Dawa Phuti, died young in 1944. With her he had a son, Nima Dorje, who died at the age of 4, and two daughters, Nima and Pem Pem. His second wife was Ang Lahmu, a cousin of his first wife. They had no children, but she acted as stepmother to his daughters. He took his third wife while his second wife was still alive, as allowed by Sherpa custom, and with her he had his sons Jamling and Norbu. Other relatives include his nephews, Gombu and Topgay, who also took part in the 1953 Everest expedition.

Tenzing later became director of field training for the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling. In 1978, he founded a company, Tenzing Norgay Adventures, that offers trekking in the Himalaya. As of 2003, the company is run by his son Jamling Tenzing Norgay, who himself reached the summit of Everest in 1996. Tenzing died in Darjeeling (now Darjiling), West Bengal, India in 1986.


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