KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal celebrated the 60th anniversary of the conquest of Mount Everest on Wednesday by honoring climbers who followed in the footsteps of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Among them was Italian Reinhold Messner, the first climber to scale Everest without using bottled oxygen and the first person to climb all of the world's 14 highest peaks.
"I am here in Nepal again for filming ... not any more for climbing," Messner said, adding he did reach the base camp of Mount Kanchenjunga during his visit. "I am full of energy and full of enthusiasm for this country."
Nepalese officials offered flower garlands and scarfs to the climbers who took part in the ceremony. They were taken around Katmandu on horse-drawn carriages followed by hundreds of people who marched holding banners to mark the anniversary.
Hillary and Norgay reached the summit of Everest on May 29, 1953. Since then thousands of people have reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak.
"We should be proud that two great people have opened the door not just to climbing Everest but to tourism for the Nepalese people. It is a great day for us and we as a family are very happy. We are basically in cloud nine today," said Tenzing's grandson Tashi Tenzing.
Tenzing Norgay died in Darjeeling, India, in 1986 at age 71. Hillary, who died of heart failure in 2008 at the age of 88, attended the golden jubilee celebration of the conquest in 2003.
Other climbers who have summited Everest were also honored on Wednesday.
"Sixty years ago exactly on this day, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made what many people thought impossible possible. So we are very thankful and grateful to them ... we can all make many of our impossible dreams possible," said Shailee Basnet, 29, a Nepalese climber who scaled Everest in 2008.
Basnet is one of a few Nepalese women climbers and is leading a team of women on a mission to climb all 14 of the highest peaks in the world.