The Theft of the Mona Lisa

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• Part 2: Familiar with the Territory
• Part 3: Success and Worldwide Fame

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Part 2: Familiar with the Territory

Norgay, meanwhile, was a part of every expedition that tried to reach the summit for nearly 20 years. He accompanied a single climber, Earl Denman, on a 1947 expedition. But none of these people made it to the top. Unlike other sherpas, who did what they did as a job, Norgay wanted to get to the top.

He had known that that was his goal when he was very young. He was born to poor parents in the Nepalese mountains and grew up in the village of Thame. Early in his life, his name was changed to how he is known today, Norgay. This means "fortunate," and he always thought that he had a special amount of luck. He tended yaks for awhile, but the pull of the mountains on him was enormous. He spent much time in some of the highest land on earth, and he knew the territory and how to survive in it. When he was 18, he moved to Darjeeling, India, site of the beginnings of many British expeditions to Mount Everest.

His famous luck was with him almost from the beginning, as he proved himself valuable on repeated expeditions. And it wasn't just British expeditions that he accompanied. He was on the Swiss expedition that had reached the south peak.

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David White