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Historys Highest Climbers

Updated on September 18, 2015

Legends and Achievers

Every sport has its legends and its achievers, but it is likely that few pursuits can boast real heroes in the way that mountaineering truly can.

When a man or woman ventures to scale the highest peaks, often by the most challenging of approaches, they risk all manner of hardships and sometimes even death. No footballer or cricket player really compares when it comes to the sheer determination in the face of certain adversity with which the mountain climber inevitably faces the task to be overcome.

Edward Whymper
Edward Whymper

The Achievers

Londoner Edward Whymper, also an illustrator, made the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. Four members of his party were killed during the descent.

Also in the late nineteenth century the Swiss climber Matthias Zurbriggen made a number of first ascents in the Himalayas, South America and New Zealand, as well as being a regular visitor to the Alps.

The philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary, from New Zealand, had the honour along with the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay of being the first climbers to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the sheer danger involved in climbing, especially when pursued to the extremes to which these most noted and intrepid of participants are prepared to go in pursuit of history, than the fate which befell the American outdoorsman Aron Ralston, who was forced to amputate his own right arm with a blunt tool after becoming trapped by a boulder for several days whilst on a hiking expedition. Incredibly, having done so he still managed to descend a sheer cliff face to the safety of terra firma. Undeterred, he still maintains that he intends one day to climb Everest!

Achievers Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sir Edmund Hillary and Mr. NorgayMatthias ZurbriggenAron Ralston
Sir Edmund Hillary and Mr. Norgay
Sir Edmund Hillary and Mr. Norgay
Matthias Zurbriggen
Matthias Zurbriggen
Aron Ralston
Aron Ralston
Black Diamond - Cyborg Pro Crampon
Black Diamond - Cyborg Pro Crampon

The Need for Safe Clothing and Expert Equipment

Most adventurers, hikers and climbers of course settle for less drastic but nonetheless still potentially daunting challenges, all of which still require the careful and sometimes expert use of ropes, tools, climbing harnesses and sundry other items of climbing and outdoor equipment. Even coats, gloves and other items of clothing need to be chosen with informed and careful attention paid to the nature of the task ahead.

It may seem an obvious point to make but shoes need especially to be appropriate to the assignment. Most rock shoes are shaped in such a way as to maximise hold and grip, as well as to provide the necessary warmth and comfort to enable the job to be seen through to the end.

Early climbers will not have benefited from some of the technology that is available today, but the courage and determination involved has been constant down the years.

Kindle eBooks on Mount Everest

Planning a trip to Everest? You can find some great reading matter on Kindle!

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