Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Last surviving member of first Everest summit climb dies

George Lowe, the last surviving member of the first successful attempt to reach the summit of Everest has died at a nursing home in Derbyshire.

George (89), was fellow New Zealander Edmund Hillary’s right-hand man during the expedition in 1953.

He was responsible for ferrying vital supplies and equipment to Hillary and his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay who became the world’s first men to reach the peak of the world’s highest mountain.

His legendary stamina and strength also played an important part in the Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1957-8 which saw the first successful overland crossing of the Antarctica via the North Pole.

He was the sweetest most beautiful gentleman you could ever wish to meet. He was never one to boost of his achievements.

His passing marks the end of a dynasty, George is the last of the 53 trip and it’s as if that part of mountaineering has gone with him.

– Nigel Vardy, friend and mountaineer

George Lowe was awarded the OBE for services to mountaineering and exploration and was chairman of the Sir Edmund Hillary Himalayan Trust, set up to improve conditions for sherpas in the Himalayas, in Britain until 2003.

George kept many souvenirs from both trips including a tent, rations and eiderdown clothing – and a treasured piece of rock which Hillary handed to him as he descended from the summit.

He died peacefully on Wednesday at the Maple Leaf Home, in Ripley, Derbyshire, with his devoted wife Mary by his side.

He also leaves behind three sons.