You Can // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

The summit of Mt. Everest is the highest spot in all the world — so high that it reaches into the jet stream, where winds often exceed 200 miles per hour! With an official height of 29,028 feet, it can be seen from one hundred miles away.

In 1921, George H. Leigh Mallory led the first attempt to scale Everest’s peak. He failed.

Again, in 1922, Mallory and his companions climbed the steep, craggy slopes. This time, seven members of the party lost their lives in a roaring avalanche.

Still, the climber did not give up. Two years later, Mallory led a third expedition to conquer the invincible giant. As they neared the top, both Mallory and his friend, Andrew Irvine, disappeared into the mist, never to be seen again.

The mountain had won.

Friends of the fallen heroes gathered for a special banquet in their memory. A huge picture of Mt. Everest hung on the wall behind the podium.

In a speech which will echo through history, one of Mallory’s climbing friends turned from the podium, gazed at the picture, and boldly addressed the mountain.

“I speak to you Mt. Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn. Mt. Everest, you defeated us once. You defeated us twice. You defeated us three times. But Mt. Everest, we shall some day defeat you because you can’t get any bigger — and we can!

In the following years, eight more attempts on the mountain ended in failure. Many claimed that the feat could never be accomplished. But there were a few brave souls who knew that some day Mt. Everest would be conquered.

Finally, 50 years ago this month — May 29, 1953 (32 years after the first attempt), Edmund Hillary and his guide reached the top and stood on the summit!

If you are brave,
If you are patient,
If you refuse to quit,
Then you, too, can conquer the mountains which stand in your path.

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