Born: May 29, 1914
Died: May 9, 1986
Achievements: Tenzing Norgay became the first man along with
Edmund Hillary to reach the summit of Mount Everest
Tenzing Norgay was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer. Tenzing Norgay
created history on May 29, 1953, when he and Sir Edmund Hillary became
the first men to conquer Mount Everest.
Tenzing Norgay was born in Tshechu, presently in Tibet Autonomous
Region, China. He grew up in peasant family in Khumbu in Nepal. His
exact date of birth is not known but it is believed that was born in
late May and later on he decided to celebrate May 29 as his birthday, as
this was the date he climbed Everest. Tenzing Norgay's original name was
Namgyal Wangdi, but as a child his name was changed on the advice of a
lama. Norgay means fortunate. Tenzing Norgay ran away to Kathmandu twice
as a boy, and eventually settled in the Sherpa community in Too Song
Bhusti in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India.
Tenzing Norgay took part as a high-altitude porter in three official British
attempts to climb Everest from the northern Tibetan side in the 1930s.
He also took part in other climbs in various parts of the Indian
subcontinent. He scaled Nanda Devi, which he described as the most
difficult climb he ever took. In 1947, he took part in an unsuccessful
Everest attempt. The attempt ended when a strong storm at 22,000 feet
In 1952, Tenzing Norgay took part in two Swiss expeditions led by
Raymond Lambert, the first serious attempt to climb Everest from the
southern Nepalese side, during which he and Lambert reached the then
record height of 8,599 m (28,215 ft).
In 1953, Tenzing Norgay took part in Sir John Hunt's expedition. This
was his seventh expedition to Everest. During this expedition he and Sir
Edmund Hillary became the first men to reach the summit.
Conquering of Everest brought great adulation to Tenzing Norgay in
India and Nepal. He was even worshipped by some people who believed him
to be an incarnation of Buddha or Lord Shiva. Tenzing Norgay later
became director of field training for the Himalayan Mountaineering
Institute in Darjeeling. In 1978, he founded a company, Tenzing Norgay
Adventures that offers trekking in the Himalayas.
Tenzing Norgay married thrice. His first wife, Dawa Phuti, died young
in 1944. He had two daughter from his first marriage. His second wife
was Ang Lahmu, a cousin of his first wife. They had no children. Tenzing
Norgay had his third marriage while his second wife was still alive, as
allowed by Sherpa custom. He had a son named Jamling from this marriage.
Jamling Norgay presently looks after the adventure company founded by
Tenzing Norgay died on May 9, 1986 in Darjeeling, West Bengal.