George Lowe was something of the forgotten man from the 1953 experdition to Everest. While Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing rightly got the plaudits for making the summit 60 years ago to this day, Lowe, a fellow New Zealander and old climbing partner of Hillary, was a key part of their success, carving a route for the group up the Lhotse Face and playing a pivotal role in setting up the final camp from which the summit was finally reached.
It was to Lowe that Edmund Hillary directed one of the most famous quotes in mountaineering history: “Ed unclipped his mask and grinned a tired greeting, sat on the ice and said in his matter-of-fact way ‘Well, George, we knocked the bastard off’."
On this 60th anniversary of the successful summit, two books from Lowe have been published - Letters From Everest: A First-Hand Account from the Epic First Ascent (Silverbear), a collection of his writings from the mountain to his sister Betty back in New Zealand, and The Conquest of Everest: Original Photos from The Legendary First Ascent (Thames and Hudson) which publishes some incredible shots from the mountain - open the gallery for some highlights.
The Conquest of Everest: Original Photos from The Legendary First Ascent (Thames and Hudson) is out now