Joint Himalayan Committee

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The Joint Himalayan Committee was the name given in 1947 to the body that was previously known as the Mount Everest Committee. Like its predecessor, it was composed of high-ranking members of the Alpine Club and the Royal Geographical Society.

The Joint Himalayan Committee was responsible for organising and financing British attempts on Mount Everest, including the first ascent in 1953

1953 Everest expedition[edit]


The Committee began the organisation for the full-scale 1953 attempt (in case the Swiss attempt in 1952 failed) in 1951, when it arranged a Reconnaissance expedition to the mountain. The following year, 1952, a training expedition – which included Edmund Hillary – was undertaken to Cho Oyu, although the mountain was not climbed.[1]

Selecting members[edit]

John Hunt, the leader of the 1953 expedition, wrote that the various British mountaineering clubs had been requested to submit lists of qualified candidates that would be considered by the Committee, 'whose responsibility it was to issue the formal invitations'.[2]


According to Hunt, the Committee's responsibility for drumming up funds for the 1953 expedition was not a welcome one:

One of the principal tasks of the Joint Himalayan Committee in addition to those of conceiving the idea of an Everest expedition, seeking political sanction, deciding matters of policy in preparation, is to finance it. Only those who have had this care can fully appreciate the work and anxiety of raising very substantial funds for an enterprise of this nature, coloured as it inevitably is in the mind of the public by a succession of failures, with no financial security other than the pockets of the Committee members themselves.


A number of organizations contributed to the Committee, including The Times newspaper, which had also supported earlier expeditions.[4]


On 2 June, four days after the successful ascent, Hunt sent a runner to 'carry messages to Namche Bazar, to go thence by the good offices of the Indian wireless station to Kathmandu. Cables of humble appreciation were sent to the Queen and the Prime Minister, another to the Himalayan Committee saying that I proposed to bring Tenzing and Hillary to England – George Lowe had already planned to come.'[5]


  • L. P. Kirwan (Director, Royal Geographical Society)
  • Peter Lloyd
  • B. R. Goodfellow (Honorary Secretary)


  1. ^ John Hunt, The Ascent of Everest, Hodder and Staughton, 1953, p. 22
  2. ^ The Ascent of Everest, p. 23–4
  3. ^ The Ascent of Everest, p. 22
  4. ^ The Ascent of Everest, p. 23
  5. ^ The Ascent of Everest, p. 219