Hillary (far left) and companions Derek Wright and Murray Ellis celebrate their arrival at the South Pole.
The men were part of a British-New Zealand expedition that was the first to traverse the continent. No one had ventured to the Pole overland since Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott raced each other to be the first to reach it in 1911. (Amundsen beat Scott by five weeks.)
Guiding his New Zealand team on modified farm tractors, Hillary aroused controversy in his rush to the Pole. He rushed up the face of the then untraversed Skelton Glacier in defiance of the expedition leader, a Briton.