Nepal to name peaks after Everest pioneers Hillary, Tenzing

Nepal plans to name two Himalayan
peaks after pioneering Mount Everest
climbers Sir Edmund Hillary and
Tenzing Norgay, a senior hiking official
said, in a move designed to boost
tourism in the beautiful but
desperately poor country.
New Zealander Hillary and his Nepali
guide Tenzing made it to the 8,850-
metre (29,035-foot) summit of the
world's highest mountain on May 29,
1953 as part of a British expedition,
which put Nepal on the map as a
destination for adventure tourism.
A government panel has recommended
that two unnamed mountains be called
Hillary Peak and Tenzing Peak, said Ang
Tshering Sherpa, a former president of
the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
"This is to honor their contribution to
mountaineering in Nepal," Sherpa,
who headed the panel, told Reuters.
The two peaks - Hillary's at 7,681 m
(25,200 ft) and Tenzing's at 7,916 m
(25,971 ft) - have never been climbed
and are expected to be opened to
foreigners in the spring season that
starts in March, he said.
Officials hope the peaks will attract
more climbers and help boost tourism
in Nepal, home to eight of the world's
14 highest mountains. Tourism now
accounts for about 4 percent of the
country's economy and employs
thousands of people.
Hillary died in 2008 at age 88 and
Tenzing died in 1986 at age 72.
Climbers in their time lacked the
specialized equipment taken for
granted today and the heavy oxygen
tanks the two men carried made
mountaineering more challenging than
it is now.
About 4,000 climbers have made it to
the summit of Everest since 1953,
among them an 80-year-old Japanese
man, an American teenager and a blind
person. Two Nepali sherpas have
reached the top a record 21 times
each.
But harsh weather, avalanches and
treacherous terrain are constant
dangers. More than 240 climbers have
died on both sides of Everest, which
can also be scaled from China.
A small airport Hillary built in the
1960s at Lukla, the gateway to Everest,
has already been named after him and
Tenzing. The remote airstrip clings to a
hillside, several days' walk from the
base camp, and is described by
mountaineers as a thrilling kick-off to
an attempt on the mountain's south
face.
Besides conservation work, Hillary
helped build schools, hospitals, water
supply schemes and trails in the
Everest region that is home to the
ethnic sherpas without whose help
climbers would find it difficult to make
it to the top.
Two peaks in west Nepal could be
named after famed French climbers
Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal,
said Sherpa. In 1950, Herzog and
Lachenal became the first to reach the
summit of an 8,000-m (26,246-ft)
peak - Mount Annapurna.
About 165 peaks of up to 7,999 m
(26,245 ft) are likely to be opened to
climbers from next year, Sherpa said.
Just 326 of the more than 1,300 peaks
in Nepal are now open to foreign
climbers. The fees they pay are a major
source of income for the cash-
strapped government.