Mountain climbers, how come one person gets all the credit?

Whenever I hear about the accomplishments of famous mountain climbers, they are talked about as if they did it all alone. Yet as far as I can tell from watching specials on Mountain climbers they always have a large party with them. I am sure the leader of the expedition deserves more credit then the others, but not all the credit. The rest of the party does not stop 3/4 of the way up, do they? Why does only the leader get the credit?

I think because it’s easier to remember that way. The same thing applies to polar expeditions or circumnavigations.

Magellan gets credited by most people for the first circumnavigation and he didn’t even survive the trip.

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay I believe said they shared the honor of getting to the summit of Everest.

And you can extend this to sporting endeavors? Think of Tom Brady who “led” the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl win. What about the other 44 guys?

Thanks for the reply, now that I think about it all expeditions are reported this way. At least when they report an athlete led a team to victory they acknowledge he is part of a team.

Before I knew anything about Mountain climbing (compared to the almost nothing I know now), when I heard about someone making a great climbing accomplishment I assumed they did it completely alone from the way it was reported. I hear reports like only X people have made it to the top of ‘big mountain’ when it is really X plus a whole lot of people who were with them.

It’s not always the leader. The actual leader of the Everest expedition was Col. John Hunt, and not too many people know who he is these days. It was Col. Hunt who decided that Hillary and Tenzeng would be the two to try for the summit, because he felt that, of all those in the expedition, they were in the best shape and had the best chance to succeed. I believe (but am not certain) that on that expedition only Hillary and Tenzeng made it to the top.


Is it common practice for the whole team to stop while one or two try for the summit? I would think a lot of the team would think ‘I am already 3/4 of the way there, I want to go to the top’ or feel like they did all the work so someone else could get the glory (sounds a little like bicycle racing).

Some do do it all alone.

Reinhold Messner probably had the most famous solo climb when he went up Everest alone without O[sub]2[/sub]. He also went in 1982 (before the summit rush we have today) and after the monsoon had already past–ensuring a true solo.

The solo climb of Everest was in 1980. Sorry about the wrong bit of info given above.