May Monthly Mini-Read

May 29, 1953 – First people reach the summit of Mount Everest

In the Great Himalayas of Asia lies Mount Everest, with a towering summit of 29,032 feet above sea level. Chomo-Lungma, or “Mother Goddess of the Land,” is what Tibetans call this feat of nature. Several daring expeditions had been previously made, but due to the oxygen levels, temperature, and physical conditions,  conquering it was an arduous task.

That was until Edmund Hilary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal took on the challenge as part of a British expedition. Interestingly, the pair may never have grown famous, as another duo on the same expedition almost reached the summit before having to turn back due to low supplies. That was when Hilary and the leader sherpa, Norgay, took their turn and reached the South Summit, but that was not the end. As stated by National Geographic, “After the South Summit, the ridge takes a slight dip before rising abruptly in a rocky spur some 40 feet (12 meters) high just before the true summit. Scraping at the snow with his ax, Hilary chimneyed between the rock pillar and an adjacent ridge of ice to surmount this daunting obstacle”. Finally, at about noon on May 29, they reached the highest point on earth, looming over all others.

Did you know? News of Hilary and Norgay’s success broke on the same day as Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

Other Notable Events

  • May 7, 1833- birthday of Johannes Brahms, who was a famous German pianist, conductor, and composer, most famous for his first piano concerto.
  • May 14, 1607- establishment of the first permanent English settlement in America at Jamestown
  • May 20, 1932- Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic

Additional Facts

In no year does any month start or end on the same day of the week as May does. May holds home to Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. National Crouton Day, National Pizza Party Day, and World Otter Day are also celebrated during the fifth month of the year.