Over the course of the first three decades of the 20th century, the three major proponent countries in the realm of Himalayan exploration and mountaineering each began to lay claims to what they considered to be their ‘own’ peaks. The British focused on Everest; the Germans suffered repeated loses on Nanga Parbat, and the Italians concentrated their efforts on K2.
Within five years of the end of World War II, the first of the apparently unreachable summits of the 8,000 metre peaks – Annapurna – was attained by a French expedition. Fourteen years later, all fourteen of these mountains had been climbed.
Since 1964 the focus of expeditions has been, in varying degrees, discovery and attempts on new routes. The iconic achievement by Reinhold Messner of being the first to climb all 8,000ers led to others attempting to emulate his feat.
However, the one event considered to be the ‘crowning glory’ of Himalayan mountaineering was the first ascent of Everest on 29th May 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Everest first ascent commemorative postcard prepaid with combined Tibet and India postage, from Gyantse, Tibet, dated January 1954.