Tenzing Norgay – The most famous Sherpa. /Version polish and english/

Tenzing Norgay (Nepali: तेन्जिङ नोर्गे शेर्पा) GM (May 1914 – 9 May 1986), often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer. He and Edmund Hillary were the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest on 29 May 1953.

Early life

Tenzing came from a peasant family from Khumbu in Nepal, very near Mount Everest, which the Sherpas call Chomolungma.At the time he climbed Everest it was generally believed that he wasborn there, but in the 1990s it emerged that he was actually born andspent part of his early life in the Kharta Valley region in Tibet to the east of Mount Everest, but this had been kept secret for political reasons.

His exact date of birth is not known, but he knew it was in late Mayby the weather and the crops. After his ascent of Everest on 29 May, he decided to celebrate his birthday on that day thereafter.

He was originally called “Namgyal Wangdi”, but as a child his name was changed on advice from the head lama and founder of the famous Rongbuk Monastery – Ngawang Tenzin Norbu. Tenzing Norgay translates as “wealthy-fortunate-follower-of-religion”. His father, a yakherder, was Ghang La Mingma (who died in 1949) and his mother was DokmoKinzom (who lived to see him climb Everest); he was the 11th of 13children, most of whom died young.

He ran away to Kathmandu twice as a boy, and, at age 19, eventually settled in the Sherpa community in Too Song Bhusti in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India.


Mountaineering – Tenzing Norgay’s monument

Tenzing Norgay's monument

He took part as a high-altitude porter in three official British attempts to climb Everest from the northern Tibetan side in the 1930s.

Tenzing also took part in other climbs in various parts of theIndian subcontinent, and for a time in the early 1940s he lived in whatis 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 of Everest.An eccentric Englishman named Earl Denman, Ange Dawa Sherpa, andTenzing entered Tibet illegally to attempt the mountain; the attemptended when a strong storm at 22,000 ft (6,700 metres) pounded them.Denman admitted defeat and all three turned around and safely returned.

In 1952, he took part in two Swiss expeditions led by Raymond Lambert,the first serious attempts to climb Everest from the southern Nepaleseside, during which he and Lambert reached the then record height of8,599 m (28,215 ft).

Success on Mount Everest


In 1953, he took part in John Hunt‘sexpedition, his own seventh expedition to Everest, in which he andHillary became the first to reach the summit. Afterwards he was metwith adulation in India and Nepal, and was even worshipped by somepeople who believed him to be an incarnation of Buddha or Shiva.

He was awarded the George Medal from the British Government for his efforts with the expedition.

“It has been a long road…From a mountain coolie, a bearer ofloads, to a wearer of a coat with rows of medals who is carried aboutin planes and worries about income tax.”—Tenzing Norgay

Tenzing and Hillary were the first people to conclusively set theirfeet on the summit of Mount Everest, but journalists were persistentlyrepeating the question which of the two men had the right to the gloryof being the first one, and who was merely the second, the follower.Tenzing stressed the unity of such teams and of their achievements. Heshrugged off the allegation of ever being pulled by anyone, butdisclosed that Hillary was the first to put his foot on the summit. Heconcluded: “If it is a shame to be the second man on Mount Everest,then I will have to live with this shame.”

Another interesting aside of this ascent was that all the photosthat existed of the mountaineers on the top showed only Tenzing. Whenasked why there were no photos featuring Hillary, Sir Edmund replied,”Tenzing did not know how to operate the camera and the Everest top wasno place to start teaching him how to use it”. Hillary and Tenzingremained on friendly terms throughout their life.

Family life

Tenzing was married three times. His first wife, Dawa Phuti, diedyoung in 1944. They had a son, Nima Dorje, who died at the age of four,and two daughters, Pem Pem, whose son Tashi Tenzingclimbed Everest, and Nima, who married a Filipino graphic designer,Noli Galang. His second wife was Ang Lahmu, a cousin of his first wife.They had no children, but she acted as stepmother to his daughters. Histhird wife was Dakku, whom he married while his second wife was stillalive, as allowed by Sherpa custom. They had sons Norbu, Jamling and Dhamey. Other relatives include his nephews Nawang Gombu and Topgay who took part in the 1953 Everest expedition.

Tenzing never learned to read or write, but he spoke several languages. His native language was Sherpa but he spoke fluent Nepali and had a working knowledge of English, Tibetan, and a few other languages of the Indian sub-continent.

After Everest

Tenzing later became director of field training for the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling. In 1978 he founded Tenzing Norgay Adventures, a company providing trekking adventures in the Himalaya. As of 2003 the company was run by his son Jamling Tenzing Norgay, who himself reached the summit of Everest in 1996. Tenzing died of a bronchial condition in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India in 1986.

Tenzing House is a Primary Wing House at St Paul’s School, Darjeeling in India, named in his honour.

Tenzing Norgay – on the summit of Mount Everest, 29 May 1953 Photo taken by Edmund Hillary

Tenzing Norgay (ur. 15 aja 1914, zm. 9maja 1986) – himalaista nepalski, Szerpa z Solukhumbu, który wraz z Edmundem Hillarym 29 maja 153 dokonał pierwszego wejścia na Mount Everest – najwyższą górę Ziemi.

W latach 1935, 1936 i 1938 pracował jako tragarz dla brytyjskich wypraw usiłujących zdobyć Everest od tybetańskiej, północnej strony. W 1951 brał udział jako sirdar we francuskiej wyprawie na Nanda Devi wchodząc wraz z L. Dubostem na jej wschodni wierzchołek, zdobyty przez Polaków w 1939. Uważał potem to wejście za swoją najtrudniejszą wspinaczkę. W 1952 był sirdarem i zarazem członkiem szwajcarskiej wyprawy na Mount Everest i wraz z R. Lambertem osiągnął rekordową podówczas wysokość około 8600 na południowej grani.

W 1953 wziął udział w brytyjskiej, kierowanej przez Johna Hunta, wyprawie na Everest od południowej strony i 29 maja, wraz z Edmundem Hillarym stanął na jego wierzchołku.

Po zdobyciu Everestu osiadł w Dardżylingu (Indie), gdzie był kierownikiem Instytutu Górskiego i prezesem Stowarzyszenia Szerpów.

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11 Responses

  1. […] a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay (Tib:བསྟན་འཛིན་ནོར་རྒྱས།) became the first climbers known to […]

  2. […] a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay (Tib:བསྟན་འཛིན་ནོར་རྒྱས།) became the first climbers known to […]

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  6. […] easier and is the more frequently-used route. It was the route used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 / photo on the right /. With supplemental oxygen, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa […]

  7. […] a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay  became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of […]

  8. […] Hillary dokonał pionierskiego wejścia na Mount Everest wraz z Szerpą Tenzingiem Norgayem 29 maja 1953 r. “Załatwiliśmy skurczybyka” powiedział do towarzyszy eskapady po zejściu ze […]

  9. […] a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay (Tib:བསྟན་འཛིན་ནོར་རྒྱས།) became the first climbers known to […]

  10. […] Tenzing Norgay – The most famous Sherpa. /Version polish and english/ […]

  11. […] easier and is the more frequently-used route. It was the route used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 / photo on the right /. With supplemental oxygen, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa […]

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