In 1953, Rolex equipped the British expedition that saw Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reach the summit of Mount Everest. Rolex watches accompany those who walk in the footsteps of pioneering explorers. Passionate men and women with the will to discover and carve new paths for the world of tomorrow.
The Himalayan Trust and
Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Foundation
The mountain as a legacy
Following his historic ascent with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953, mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary created the Himalayan Trust foundation. It is now directed by his son Peter, also an experienced mountaineer. The foundation has built two hospitals, 12 rural clinics, 28 schools and clean water systems to help the Sherpa people. It has been supported by Rolex since 2012.
The Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Foundation is also supported by Rolex. Created by Tenzing Norgay’s children, it is dedicated to the preservation of Sherpa culture and the promotion of education and healthcare in the mountainous region of Khumbu in Nepal and Darjeeling in Himalayan India. Tenzing Norbu, Norgay's son, wears his father’s Rolex watch, a vintage model from 1952.
In 2003, Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing, another one of Norgay’s sons, took part in a commemorative expedition organized in partnership with the National Geographic Society. Together, they went back to Everest in the footsteps of their illustrious fathers.
Dawa Yangzum Sherpa is a pioneer. This Nepalese mountaineer is greatly admired by her peers.
In 2012, at the age of 21, she was the first Nepalese woman to guide an expedition to the summit of Everest. But her journey did not end there. She has completed several ascents of over 8,000 metres, including K2 (8,611 m), Makalu (8,485 m) and Annapurna (8,091 m). At 27, she became the first woman in Asia – and one of the youngest in the world – to be officially recognized as an international mountain guide, a major professional distinction. In parallel to her work as a guide, and with the support of Rolex, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa passes on her knowledge by training young Nepalese women in mountaineering, an economically and culturally important activity in her country.
Dawa Yangzum Sherpa has worn an Explorer on her wrist since joining the family of Rolex Testimonees in 2022. She sees this role as an encouragement for the next generation. “I didn't have anyone to look up to and sometimes doubted if I could do it. But hopefully my small success will inspire other girls to follow their dreams.”
As the only American to have climbed the 14 highest peaks in the world with no additional oxygen, Ed Viesturs is a rare explorer. In 2005, following the ascent of his 14th summit, Annapurna, he was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic Society.
The experienced mountaineer has made 21 ascents above 8,000 metres, including climbing Everest seven times. He says, “Timekeeping is critical. For an explorer, the watch that you have has to be reliable. It has to be rather indestructible, waterproof, shockproof and easy to use.”
Rinzin Phunjok Lama
Protecting Nepal’s mountain wildlife
Rinzin Phunjok Lama is a young Nepalese biologist and ecologist from the icy, steep slopes of Humla, one of the most remote places on Earth. In this region, which lies at an altitude of 5,000 metres, life is a constant struggle for humans and animals alike, often to the detriment of the latter. The scientist is a leading figure in a new generation of environmental activists in Nepal and is convinced that the involvement and expertise of local people can make a difference.
Rinzin Phunjok Lama therefore encourages the people of the Himalayas to become involved in the preservation of endangered wildlife, from snow leopards to wild yaks. He encourages them to take charge of environmental issues through the creation of local businesses and governance ownership to build more resilient mountain communities.