Since 1852, when Peak XV, later to be named the Everest, was found to be the highest not only in the Himalayan range, but also in the whole world, this tallest of pinnacles on earth has presented a supreme challenge to man. To date, there have been as many as fifteen full-fledged expeditions to Mount Everest both from the Tibet and the Nepal side, and four reconnaissance and three solo attempts.
A New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary, and an Indian, Tenzing Norgay, as members of the 1953 British Expedition, led by Sir John Hunt, were the first ever to reach the summit of the Everest on May 29 that year.
Of the fifteen expeditions, India mounted three. The 1960 Indian Expedition, under Brig. Gyan Singh, was compelled to withdraw when only 700 ft. from the goal owing to bad weather. The second Indian attempt in 1962, under the late Major John Dias, met the same fate when just 400 ft. below the summit. The third Indian Expedition’s initial attempt, towards the end of April, 1965, was also thwarted by high velocity of winds and blizzards and it had to return to the base camp and wait for over two weeks for better weather. Towards the end of May, however, the efforts of the Expedition were crowned with remarkable success when Mount Everest was scaled in four successive attempts.
On May 20, 1965 the expedition became the first All-Indian team to reach the summit when two of its members, Capt. A. S. Cheema and Nawang Gombu climbed the peak. This was the second time that Nawang Gombu had climbed the Everest – a record worthy to be proud of. Two days later, on May 22, Sonam Gyatso and Sonam Wangyalreached the summit becoming respectively the oldest (42) and the youngest (23) climbers ever to stand on top of the Everest.
Again, on Mav 24, C. P. Vohra and Ang Kami reached the top. On May 29, 12 years to the day from the first ascent of Everest, the fourth and last summit party with Capt. H. P. S. Ahluwalia, H. C. S. Rawat and Phu Dorji made the summit. This was the first time that three men had stood together on the Everest.
Nine men reached the 29,028 ft. high summit of the Everest in four successive attempts made within ten days in May, 1965. This is the success story of the third Indian Mount Everest Expedition, doing credit to all its nineteen members and bringing glory to India.