x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Everest: it's still there

More than 4,000 people have reached the Everest summit, and successful climbs are increasingly common. But that doesn't mean climbing Everest is in any way easy.

The very word "Everest" has become synonymous with extraordinary human achievement. To climb the world's highest mountain is regarded as the pinnacle of success.

Sixty years ago this week, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach the top and live to tell the tale. Many others have followed in their footsteps.

In the past week alone, The National has recorded the successes of Yuichiro Miura, who at 80 became the oldest climber; Indian amputee Arunima Sinha; Saudi woman Raha Moharrak; UAE-based Maria Conceicao, who raised funds for Bangladeshi slum children; and a trio of UAE-based climbers, the "Arabs with Altitude", Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, Masoud Mohammad and Raed Zidan.

More than 4,000 people have reached the 8,848-metre summit, and successful climbs are increasingly common. But that doesn't mean climbing Everest is in any way easy. Indeed, more than 200 people have died trying.

George Mallory, who disappeared while ascending the mountain in 1924, famously said he wanted to climb Everest "because it's there". And, in the absence of personal space flight, there is still no greater individual challenge than to conquer the highest peak of them all.