The Hillary Step on Mount Everest collapsed sometime in the past few years. The rock feature was an exposed and steep section of the Southeast Ridge that was first climbed in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Expedition leader Tim Mosedale who had climbed Everest a number of times reported it after his May 16 ascent. “The Hillary Step is no more,” he wrote on Facebook.
The 12-metre rock step was at 8,790 metres on Mount Everest, making it one of the highest technical rock features in the world. It was considered the crux of Everest’s most popular route.
Climber’s site planetmountain.com noted from Pemchhiri Sherpa, “‘Yes, it has changed… before we had to climb the rock but now, after the earthquake, the route has changed and now we need to climb from the right.’
“It’s worth noting that in this pre-monsoon season Pemchhiri helped install the fixed ropes up the SE Ridge route and the other day he scored his eleventh Everest summit.”
There are currently hundreds of climbers making their way to the summit during one of the few weather windows of the season. For an interview with Mosedale, visit here.
When asked if he thought anyone would ever want to climb Everest after his first ascent, Hillary said in an interview with Allison Chase and Gordon Brown here, “Tenzing and I thought nobody would be particularly interested in trying to climb it again. We were absolutely wrong.”
Other famous rock features that have succumbed to gravity include the Bonatti Pillar falling from the Drus and 60 metres of Half Dome’s Northwest Face falling off the route, which still goes.
Watch climbers queuing at the Hillary Step in 2009 in the video below.