Reaching the Top: 70 Years of Everest

2023 marks a significant anniversary for Grangers and mankind’s ongoing journey to explore and conquer the great outdoors. 70 years ago, two men – Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay – were the first to ascend Mount Everest successfully, besting the world’s highest mountain. Hillary, a New Zealand Mountaineer, and Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, were part of the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition, aiming to be the first explorers to reach the top and make history. Standing at 8,848m above sea level, these were staggering heights to contend with, especially for the time. They faced dangerous drops and tackled low oxygen, freezing temperatures, poor visibility and jagged terrain. Being confirmed as the world’s tallest mountain in the 1850s, there had been 9 previously-documented unsuccessful attempts to reach the summit before Norgay and Hillary’s triumph in 1953.

On 10th March 1953, the party departed Kathmandu for Everest. After arriving at Thyangboche, a village near the foot of the Himalayan Mountains, the climbers undertook altitude acclimation. Base Camp (5455m) was reached on 12th April and John Hunt, leader of the expedition, organised three assaults on the summit using three climbing pairs. The first assault’s goal was to reach the South Summit and the second (comprising Norgay and Hillary – the strongest climbers in the party) and third assaults were to attempt the summit. After a successful first assault, Hillary and Norgay started their journey to the top of Everest on 27th May and, two days later on 29th May, they reached the summit at 11:30 am. There, at the highest point in the world, the pair took photographs and buried sweets and a cross in the snow.

This was such a momentous occasion for adventurers everywhere, proving that, with proper training, determination and skill, mankind can take on such a seemingly impossible challenge and come out on top (literally). The news of the successful climb reached Great Britain on the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, 2nd June, and she declared it a coronation gift. It was another reason for the country to celebrate, being part of the first expedition to reach the top of Everest.

This May, Grangers is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first successful summit as it is a pivotal event in the world of mountaineering and something that we hold particularly close to our heart. We were honoured to aid the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition by protecting the clothing and equipment of its members. Six years prior, in 1947, Grangers had created the world’s first water-based aftercare solution. This invention made waves in the outdoor industry, helping to keep those daring adventurers warm and dry as they scaled Everest. Our revolutionary formula treated their gear to ward off biting winds and blizzards, keeping potentially life-threatening chills at bay.

Throughout June, Kenton Cool, the English mountaineer and mountain guide, will be touring the country to talk about the world’s most famous mountain, celebrating 70 years since the first successful summit. Grangers is sponsoring the event, Everest: The Untold Story. Make sure to grab your tickets now before they sell out!

Now, 70 years on, Everest is still regarded as the apex of mountaineering achievements; its presence enticing climbers from across the globe to traverse its treacherous but tempting trails. The dazzling heights and dizzying drops are endlessly pulling explorers to the mountain, daring them to attempt the ascent. Modern adventurers that have tackled Everest and prevailed include Nimsdai Purja MBE, Kenton Cool and Cecilie Skog. So, always remember, even if it seems impossible, it doesn’t hurt to dream – aim for the top! #withgrangersyoucan