60th anniversary: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to scale Everest – but not the last


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The Independent Online

Sixty years after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the top of the world, anniversary celebrations took place in the shadow of a mountain they might now struggle to recognise.

Amelia Rose Hillary, Sir Edmund’s granddaughter, joined a procession in Nepal, while the Italian climber Reinhold Messner cut a cake at a special ceremony.

But the festivities came after decades in which almost 5,000  climbers have transformed a mountain that once seemed unconquerable. More than 500 people have scaled the summit in the past few weeks, including an 81-year-old Nepalese man, the oldest person to follow in Hillary’s steps.

Tons of rubbish were also removed from Everest, as its popularity as a tourist destination for the rich continues to take a toll.

There are mounting concerns over the safety of climbers, too, as tempers fray in high-altitude bottlenecks.