Sons of Everest Pioneers to Climb Mountain

National Geographic said it will film the sons of three of the 20th century's most notable mountaineers when they climb Mount Everest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ascent to the world's tallest peak. 

The expedition of Peter Hillary, Jamling Norgay and Brent Bishop will be filmed for a two-hour documentary called "Surviving Everest," the National Geographic Society said in a news release Tuesday. The program is scheduled to air on the National Geographic Channel in May 2003. 

Everest was first conquered in 1953 by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Ten years later, National Geographic staffer Barry Bishop and four other climbers became the first Americans to scale the mountain. 

The film will document the expedition of the younger Hillary, Norgay and Bishop as they try to relive the achievements of their fathers. 

The trio is in Nepal preparing for the climb, which is scheduled for May, National Geographic spokeswoman Johnna Miller said. 

They will be joined by Peter Athans — the expedition leader, who has climbed Everest six times — and other mountaineers. Hillary first climbed Everest in 1990, Bishop in 1994 and Norgay in 1996. 

Terry Garcia, executive vice president of mission programs for National Geographic, said the purpose of the documentary is to create awareness of one of the most remote and inaccessible regions of the world. 

"As we look to the future, it is no longer enough merely to explain our findings or set records," Garcia said. "It is imperative that we promote greater respect for the world in an effort to protect it for future generations." 

The 29,035-foot mountain has been climbed more than 1,000 times. Mountaineering authorities say 180 climbers have died on its unpredictable slopes.