From the Photo Archive: 68 Years of Epic Everest Climbs

Decades after two climbers first summited Mount Everest, mountaineers from across the globe continue to set their sights on the world's tallest peak.

Published 2 Jun 2018, 12:53 BST, Updated 24 May 2021, 14:32 BST

Nearly 100 years after scientists determined Mount Everest was the world’s highest peak, New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first mountaineers to reach its summit. On May 29, 1953, the two pioneered a route along the mountain’s Southeast Ridge.

"Both Tenzing and I thought that once we'd climbed the mountain, it was unlikely anyone would ever make another attempt," Sir Edmund Hillary once said. "We couldn't have been more wrong."

Since then, scores of intrepid climbers and expedition groups from all over the world have set out to meet their fate on Everest. Some followed in Hillary and Tenzing’s footsteps. Others discovered and created new paths to the top. Too many continue to take their last breaths on Everest, never to return home.

Yet still, the dangerous allure of Everest remains, and mountaineers across the globe count down the days until climbing season begins. To commemorate these adventures, we've gathered historic photographs from our archives of the mountain and its climbers.


This article was originally published in 2018, and has been updated.

A date was corrected on one of the picture captions.

Read More

You might also like

Climbing Everest – to try to solve its greatest mystery
Will the pandemic crush Nepal’s trekking industry?
Nepali mountaineers achieve historic winter first on K2
In remote Nepal, new roads bring opportunity—and conflict
The Swiss mountain that’s changing forever

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved