For those inclined to the race to be the first, Mt. Everest has always stood as an appealing choice. From the legendary Mallory and Irvine, to Nishat Majumder, who, on May 19, 2012 became the first Bangladeshi woman to reach the peak, the mountain has invited adventure seekers of all kind.
But not all who make the pilgrimage to the Everest do so with the intent of being the first. Some are a form of tribute. On Wednesday, Charles Douglas-Hamilton, the grandson of the first man to fly over Everest, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (he flew together with another Scotsman, David McIntyre), got on a special flight from Kathmandu to get a view of what his grandfather had seen 80 years ago to the day on April 3, 1933.
Even the airplane that took him there, a modern Jetstream 41, was built by Prestwick, a company established by his grandfather and Intyre.
The flight 80 years ago took off from Purnea in Bihar and conducted a photographic survey of the mountain, which were used in later attempts to climb the mountain, including the first proven successful ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
“My grandfather’s plane surged over the summit and flew in to get the plume with ice particles rattling off the aircraft,” Charles said at a press conference , recounting the dangers faced by the pioneers in the early days of flight.
In his own flight, the grandson Douglas-Hamilton did not reach as high as his grandfather Douglas. The tribute flight, with 29 people on board, merely reached 23,000 ft., far below the 29, 029 ft that is the full height of the Mt. Everest.