NPF: BRING A COAT. IT MIGHT GET COLD.

It has been almost sixty years since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay became the first people to ascend Mount Everest and live to tell the tale (I've always been convinced that Mallory and Irvine made it, based on circumstantial evidence and the fact that it makes for a better story). Since their success more than 3000 people have reached the summit, and in fact it is considered something of a tourist trap among climbers – the mountain for rich people who don't know anything about climbing but want a cool story to tell their friends. The climb costs well over $100,000 now, but nearly anyone with the cash and good physical condition has a decent chance of summitting if the weather holds.

Not so back in 1953. Much like we look back at the space program of the 1950s and 1960s in amazement at how much was done with so little technology by today's standards, Hillary and Tenzig made the best out equipment that modern climbers might wear to a costume party. National Geographic has an interesting gallery comparing the tools, clothing, and other equipment used by the famous pair to the modern equivalents. It won't tell you anything you don't already know – technology has made everything far lighter, stronger, and more effective – but it's interesting to see nonetheless.

Two more interesting facts. Did you know that Tenzig and Hillary were steampunk?


At San Diego Comic-Con, 2008

And that Hillary was the Gyro Captain in Mad Mad 2: Road Warrior?

True story.

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17 Responses to “NPF: BRING A COAT. IT MIGHT GET COLD.”

  1. FMguru Says:

    Bruce Spence references are always welcome

  2. chautauqua Says:

    Well, Sir Edmund is a national hero in NZ. And he's on their $5 bill. Which is waterproof, by the way. Sorry, I thought that there might be something of significance in here.

  3. Middle Seaman Says:

    Very significant, I support Hillary too.

  4. Tim H. Says:

    I'd also like to think Mallory made it, but Hillary made it back.

  5. c u n d gulag Says:

    Right after the devastation of WWII, the survivors got into what can only be described as, "The Can-Do!" spirit.

    Hillary and Norgay crested Everest.
    Bannister broke the 4-minute mile.
    Better, bigger, roads and airports made travel easier cheaper, and faster.
    Russia put up a satellite – then the first man in space.
    Americans reached the moon – AND came back.

    And then… pffffffffffffffffffffffft.
    The air seemed to go out of the balloon.

    Now, America, once the leader of the "Can-do!" movement, is fading fast. The "Reagan De-evolution" has made America into a "Nope, can't do THAT – it's too expensive!" nation, and the rest of the world seems to have followed.

    And so, we're left to celebrate the hero's of the "Can-Do!" world, when previous generations looked to the future with bright, hopeful eyes.

    Today, we resemble the generations before the "Can-Do!" one(s). A world with ethnic, national, and reactionary religious strife/movements.
    And sure, those factors were always there – but they were on the back-burner for awhile, as the world moved forward.
    Now, they rage, and we fight to keep the progress we've already made, instead of working to make progress.

    The forces of Conservatism are winning. And their victory will mean, not a "Can-do!" world, but a "WE CAN do that, if and when we want – but NOT you!" one.

    But if they DO win, it'll be a Pyrrhic Victory.
    Something we "Could have done" may end up costing all of humanity:
    Not even trying to do anything about Global Warming will as surely eliminate Conservatives and Liberals – no matter how much reactionary religious prayer is involved.

    So, celebrate what was done.
    And work like hell to try to change what's happening – and help shift all of us to a brighter future.

    Sitting on our asses is not an option. I still think we "Can-Do!" that.

  6. Jimcat Says:

    The generations are lining up again in the pattern that they had during WWII. Look for more "can-doism" in the next couple of decades.

    What worries me is what, exactly, it is we might decide that we can do.

  7. Jacquilynne Says:

    According to the linked photo gallery, there's cell service on Everest's summit.

    I couldn't get cell service in my last apartment in the middle of Toronto, but there's cell service on the top of Mount Everest.

    The mind truly boggles.

  8. c u n d gulag Says:

    Jimcat,
    Good point.

  9. Ed Says:

    It's satellite phone service, not cellular. It's a big difference. Lazy writers often use "cell phone" as a general term, but sat phones are remarkably expensive and can get service literally anywhere on the planet.

  10. mothra Says:

    Not even trying to do anything about Global Warming will as surely eliminate Conservatives and Liberals – no matter how much reactionary religious prayer is involved.

    Well, when Conservatives refuse to admit that Global Warming even exists, much less that it is caused by man burning up too much carbon, you can't even approach "can-do." They don't wanna do. Because that would mean they might have to give up something. Change their behavior.

    Don't even get me started on this…

  11. Fezzik Says:

    Apparently Hillary and Tenzig had an agreement where they refused to tell who *really* got there first until after the other died. Tenzig died first, so Hillary claimed himself as the first person. I reckon either they just agreed that whomever lived longest got the claim, or that (more likely) Tenzig got there first, but it being 1953 and Hillary being a loyal (if Kiwi) member of the Empire, it would only do for him to be the one who got there first—something he was able to ensure once Tenzig died.

  12. Ed Says:

    In his book Tenzig agreed that Hillary went first.

  13. Bill Says:

    NatGeo says in their slideshow that their new adventurer-person will be taking an IPhone4s to the summit, as there is indeed (spotty) cell service.

  14. Barry Says:

    Jimcat Says:
    "The generations are lining up again in the pattern that they had during WWII. Look for more "can-doism" in the next couple of decades.

    What worries me is what, exactly, it is we might decide that we can do."

    They are? Just because S&H made some claims doesn't mean much.

  15. Recall Says:

    It's regular cell phone service.

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/bits-pics-video-calls-from-the-top-of-the-world/

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