In this photo, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first people to reach Everest's summit, are seen near 27,300 feet. The 1953 expedition had climbers carrying loads approaching 44 pounds apiece. Today, ultralight gear cuts significant weight from a climber's load—often half the weight, or less, of Hillary's pack load.

Gear for the Climb

In this photo, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first people to reach Everest's summit, are seen near 27,300 feet. The 1953 expedition had climbers carrying loads approaching 44 pounds apiece. Today, ultralight gear cuts significant weight from a climber's load—often half the weight, or less, of Hillary's pack load.
Photograph by Alfred Gregory, Royal Geographic Society

Everest Climbing Gear—Then and Now

Last spring en route to Mount Everest, Hilaree O’Neill, a ski-mountaineer from Colorado who was part of our 2012 Everest expedition, trekked the same valleys and worked up to Base Camp just as Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did 60 years ago when the duo claimed the first ascent. But on the mountain, fortunately, O'Neill did not use the antiquated gear—think woolen suits and wood-handled ice axes—that Hillary hauled. In this gallery, we take a look at the equipment Hillary and Norgay used in 1953 and the high-tech gear O'Neill will use to climb the world's tallest peak in 2012.

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