Last Member of Hillary's Everest Expedition Dies

George Lowe was 89

George Lowe in 1953     Photo: Courtesy of the Evening Post

George Lowe, the last surviving member of the 1953 expedition that made the first ascent of Everest, died on Wednesday following an illness, his family said. He was 89.

While not as well known as Edmund Hillary or Tenzing Norgay, Lowe played a key part in the expedition, ferrying gear up to the South Col and setting up camp. The workload was so great that Lowe once said it made him feel "hollow inside." When Hillary and Norgay descended from the summit, it was Lowe who welcomed them back with hot drinks and extra oxygen canisters.

"When it came to the point near the summit, George had to play a subsidiary role," said Jan Morris, a journalist who traveled with the expedition. "He climbed very high, he climbed to top camp and said goodbye to Hillary, then helped him come down. He played a very important role."

Born in New Zealand in 1924, Lowe also participated in expeditions to Cho Oyu and other Himalayan peaks before taking part in the Everest climb. He would go on to participate in the first successful overland crossing of Antarctica, from 1955 to 1958, and his work filming the expeditions would earn him two nominations for the Academy Award for best documentary feature.

Via The Telegraph

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