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Conference marks 50th anniversary of first Everest ascent, April 12

"On Top of the World: An Everest Anniversary Conference," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.

The conference, organized by the Friends of the Princeton University Library , will feature four speakers, including two Everest climbers. It will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Dr. Thomas Hornbein, who traversed the summit of Everest from the West Ridge with the first successful American expedition in 1963, will kick off the conference with a lecture titled "Everest Then and Now: The Maturation of a Mountain."

Hornbein's lecture will be followed by a panel discussion called "The Changing Face of Mount Everest: The Politics of Mountaineering." Panelists will include Maurice Isserman, a professor of history at Hamilton College; Ed Douglas, a journalist and editor of Britain's Alpine Club Journal; and Ed Webster, a freelance writer and Everest veteran. The panel moderator will be David Robertson, former president of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, and the son-in-law and biographer of Everest climber George Leigh Mallory.

The conference also will include "My Storm Years on Everest: Climbing the Kangshung Face," a slide show by Webster, who in 1988 attempted to scale Everest using the most difficult approach, the Kangshung Face, without the support of oxygen, a Sherpa guide or radio contact.

A reception will follow in the Firestone Library's main exhibition gallery. Visitors can view a special display of manuscripts, photos and memorabilia, lent by the participants or culled from the papers of James Ramsay Ullman, a member of Princeton's class of 1929 and the historian of the first successful American expedition.

The conference will conclude with a mini film festival, featuring archival documentary footage about Everest, and a discussion moderated by Hornbein.

The event is co-sponsored by the Council for the Humanities, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, the Department of Geosciences and the National Geographic Society. A full agenda is available online or by contacting conference coordinator Margaret Rich at (609) 258-3174.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601

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