Has Everest’s iconic Hillary Step really collapsed? Here’s the science

The Hillary Step, a rocky outcrop at 8,770m, just beneath the summit of Everest (8,850m), has finally succumbed to gravity and partially collapsed. At least it has according to mountaineer Tim Mosedale, who climbed the mountain this year. His claim has been refuted by the chair of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, however, sparking a debate which looks set to rage for some time yet. The definitive answer, after all, is located only a few metres short of the top of the world.

Named after Sir Edmund Hillary – the first to reach the summit of Everest, with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, in May 1953 – this rocky structure certainly has a noble heritage in mountaineering circles. It is the last major obstacle encountered on the South Col route before reaching the summit.

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