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We spoke to the last living members of that team, eight men aged 73 to 92, still as excited about their Everest triumph as if they were telling the story for the first time. Everest, 1965 There are perhaps two moments of perfect harmony on a mountain ascent. Ahluwalia, now 78, the first of these was in early March, 50 years ago, in 1965.
The first, when the mountaineer stands at the base of his prize squinting up, eyes skittering over the paths to the top. The second, when the climber and peak stand, feet on shoulder, gazing down at the same view, united in the shadow they cast. Just above the Sun Kosi river, on the trek up towards Namche Bazaar in Nepal, Ahluwalia got his first glimpse of Everest.
To the ancient eye of the landscape, we must have seemed haunted.” This is what the early attempts must have looked like from the summit, as it observed indifferently the decades of Everest expeditions.
Stumbling, lost climbers, haunted by their repeated failures, roped tenuously to one another, desperate for clear weather or luck.
Run differential is not necessarily an indicator of grade of defeat.
And a well-played loss against a formidable opponent can be more noteworthy than a sloppy victory against a bad opponent.
A few from this team had been part of the previous Indian attempts, in 19.Nawang Gombu, a sherpa with the 1965 team, had already summited with the first successful American expedition, in 1963.“For us it was do or die that time; it was our motto,” says Ahluwalia, a sentiment that was stitched on the team’s rucksacks.This time he had promised his wife that “there should be at least eight on top”.Kohli, now 83, wrote a book on the expedition titled Nine Atop Everest.