Everest: 60 Years On

“There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory” – Sir Francis Drake

This very week, some 60 years ago, the first successful attempt was made to scale the infamous peak of Mount Everest. Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, as part of the ninth British Mount Everest Expedition, reached the top in 1953 via the South Col route from Nepal. Capturing the imaginations of adults and children alike, the duo opened a new frontier and paved the way for hundreds of more expeditions.
The awe inspiring height of 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level is only one of the challenges that a climber has to contend with. At this altitude there is also a noticeable lack of oxygen, which can cause severe headaches, confusion and a general decrease in brain function. This means that a person’s breathing may also be 5 to 6 times faster than normal. In an article for the Guardian newspaper, British mountaineer Stephen Venables says, “By the time we were approaching the South Summit… I was only managing two or three steps between each long gasping halt”. His effort paid off though and in 1988 he became the first person to reach the summit without bottled oxygen.
Another major obstacle our intrepid explorers face is the cold. Temperatures often reach well below -20C and at these temperatures the risk of frost bite can become a real danger. This is something that Sir Ranulph Fiennes can attest to having contracted frostbite on one of his hands after taking his glove off for a short period during his attempt to be the first to cross Antarctica in the winter. It would seem that he was right when he said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
The first serious attempts on the summit of Everest began in the 1920’s and the equipment available could probably be described as primitive compared to the standard of today’s gear. The photo below is a comparison of the altimeter used by George Mallory on his fatal attempt in 1924 alongside a digital Weiku altimeter in a watch (right) which can be had for as little as £40.

Similarly below is a picture of the Bally Reindeer-Himalaya boot that Norgay wore in 1953. These boots were fastidiously handmade from shaved deer skin fabric and if we compare this with the Boreal G1 (right), which features technologically advanced materials such as Carbonglass and Neoprene, you can appreciate how far things have come along.

The sheer challenge, the near-superhuman feats of physical endurance, supreme navigation skills and ambitions somewhat larger than the peak that they set out to explore is what gave us the inspiration to produce Adventurer’s House and we take pride in dedicating it to every brave soul – successful or not – that took on the might of Everest. Each build is in itself a challenge, taking a team of four highly skilled craftsmen over a month to complete and like the tailor made equipment that our explorer’s used, each playhouse (or Wendy house for the more traditional folk) can be bespoke built to individual specifications.
Whatever your ambitions may be; seize them, seize the day and remember to see them through to yield the glory.
See more of the Adventurer’s House here and here.
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