Eric Shipton (1907-1977) was simply one of the great climbing explorers in Asia's high mountains, including Mount Everest, from the 1930s until the 1960s. In 1931, Shipton climbed 7,816-meter Kamet with Frank Smthye, at that time the highest mountain yet climbed. He was on several Mount Everest expeditions, including a 1935 expedition whose members included Tenzing Norgay and a 1933 expedition with Smthye when they climbed to the First Step on the Northeast Ridge at 8,400 meters before turning back.
Mount Everest at that time was really unknown territory, climbers were still seeking ways to access the mountain and trying to figure out possible routes up it. Shipton explored much of the area around Mount Everest, finding the route up the Khumbu Glacier, the usual route now to the South Col, in 1951. That year he also photographed footprints of a Yeti, the mythical mountain ape of the Himalaya.
Eric Shipton's biggest disappointment, however, was that the leadership of the successful 1953 Mount Everest expedition was pulled from him since he favored small groups of climbers attempting mountains in today's alpine style rather than big armies of climbers, Sherpas, and porters. Shipton was famous for saying that any expedition could be organized on a cocktail napkin.