Within a few days the party had reconnoitered a route through the Icefall to a
point where a continuous lateral crevasse separated the Icefall from the
Western Cwm above. Examination from high on the slopes of nearby Pumori had
already indicated that the Cwm gave easy access to the West Face of Lhotse,
from which the South Col of Everest could be reached by a gently rising
traverse. They continued to explore the area, hoping that conditions might
improve later in the season, but when the team tackled the Icefall again
towards the end of October, they failed to climb as high. Nevertheless, the
route had been identified which would eventually lead Ed Hillary and Sherpa
Tenzing Norgay to the summit.
The following year the Swiss made their bid under the leadership of Dr. E.
Wyss-Dunand. They successfully crossed the final crevasse into the Western
Cwm, which they evocatively called 'the Valley of Silence,' and on May 26th
Raymond Lambert and Tenzing Norgay camped in a tiny tent at 27,500 feet, ready
to make a bid for the summit the following day. They were under-equipped,
however, and with no means of cooking, unable to drink or eat enough to keep up
their strength. Their attempt failed at 28,210 feet, just below the South
Summit. Another Swiss expedition that autumn failed to match this sterling
effort. The stage was set for the British Expedition of 1953, Coronation year,
to be led by Colonel John Hunt.