It’s Mount Everest – the tallest mountain in the world. Its peak of 29,035 feet reaches two thirds of the way through the earth’s atmosphere. It’s at about the same altitude that jet liners cruise. There’s very little oxygen at the peak. It’s very cold and the weather can change in an instant.

People for centuries had dreamed of climbing the mountain to the top. George Mallory of Great Britain was one of the first to try in 1921. When asked why – he said “Because it’s there.” He and his expedition had to bail out of their climb because of a raging storm, but he was able to map out a feasible route to the top. He returned the following year and made it to 27-thousand feet.

In 1923, another British climber Edward Norton came within 900 feet of the summit before turning back. Mallory gave it another try in 1924 and never made it back down. His frozen body was found in 1999 – he apparently had fallen in his final attempt. But finally in 1953 Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Colonel John Hunt of Great Britain led a team of climbers to the top of Mount Everest – the first ever to do it.

News of their achievement didn't become known until June 2nd of that year, the same day Queen Elizabeth was coronated. Britain looked at it as a good omen for their country's future. Later that year both Hillary and Hunt were knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Since then nearly 23-hundred people have climbed to the top of the highest mountain in the world. You need a permit to do it though and the country of Nepal charges 25-thousand dollars a person – just for the permit. Everest has also claimed 210 lives.