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Eccles got there first!

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

On 28 April 1953, the Goons climbed the tallest mountain in the world in ‘The Ascent of Mount Everest’ – a full month before Hillary and Tensing climbed it for the first time. But you don’t see THAT in the history books, do you?

The Radio Times listing for the episode is here.

Despite the Goons’ success, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were celebrated as the first conquerors of Everest on 29 May 1953. News didn’t reach London until 2 June, when crowds that had gathered to watch the Queen’s coronation on 3 June heard and celebrated wildly, according to newspaper reports. Due to rain, the crowds were described as “damp but patient” by the Nottingham Journal. Makes you proud to be British.

The Nepalese government tried to rename the mountain as Tensing Peak immediately after the expedition, but was not successful.

Equally unsuccessful was a bid by the Daily Herald newspaper to have it renamed Mount Elizabeth due to the coincidental timing of the climb and the coronation. As one telegram to the Herald put it: “Propose Mount Everest be named after Tensing. Queen did not climb mountain. Tensing did.”

I'd better not suggest Mount Seagoon, then.

Image of Everest from Simon via Pixabay.

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