Photo by   Lloyd Smith

Photo by Lloyd Smith

Since 1953, when Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered the peak, 7,001 people have looked out from Everest’s mighty summit. 

The number of successful summits up to August 2015 is as follows: from the Nepalese side (south) there have been a total of 4,421 successful summits, and from the Tibetan side (north) there have been 2,580 successful summits. 

However, some people have reached the summit on more than one occasion. Two Sherpas jointly hold the record of 21 successful ascents each: Apa and Phurba Tashi.

Often seen as an ultimate symbol of adventure and human achievement, up to 1,000 aspiring climbers attempt Everest each year. The majority of these climbers time their expeditions for the best climbing weather, usually found in early to mid-May. 


These days, many are successful in their attempts, although the last couple of years has seen a higher number of deaths and problems with strikes and of course, the terrible Nepali Earthquake. 

With modern equipment, more experienced guides and more widely available pre-trip information, success rates have risen to 56% (2012, including Sherpas). This has climbed steadily since 1990, when only 18% of climbers made it to the top – that year there were just 72 successful summits.

Interestingly, women also have a higher success rate than men for reaching the summit. Their ascents are successful 52% of the time on average since 2000. Men are successful 49% (not including Sherpas).

However, the rapid increase in visits to Everest over the past 30 years have lead to well documented problems. The now infamous traffic jams, the littered mountain side and other stories have created significant negative press for the mountain, the Nepalese government and expedition operators in recent years. 

As such, the future of Everest expeditions is a topic of contention and its long term future waits to be seen.



I quit the rat-race to live a more adventurous life. This is my journey.