KATHMANDU: Nepal plans to name two Himalayan peaks after pioneering Mount Everest climbers Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a hiking official said, in a move designed to boost tourism in the beautiful but poor country.
New Zealander Hillary and his Nepali guide Tenzing made it to the 8,850-metre summit of the world’s highest mountain on May 29, 1953 as part of a British expedition.
A government panel has recommended that two unnamed mountains be called Hillary Peak and Tenzing Peak, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association.
“This is to honour their contribution to mountaineering in Nepal,” Sherpa said.
The peaks — Hillary’s at 7,681 metres and Tenzing’s at 7,916 metres — have never been climbed and are expected to be opened to foreigners in the spring season that starts in March.
Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains.
Hillary died in 2008 at age 88 and Tenzing in 1986 at age 72. Climbers in their time lacked specialised 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 Everest since 1953.
A small airport Hillary built in the 1960s at Lukla, the gateway to Everest, has already been named after him and Tenzing. Two peaks in west Nepal could be named after famed French climbers Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, said Sherpa.
In 1950, both became the first to reach the summit of an 8,000 metres peak — Mount Annapurna.