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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

10 January 2008

Edmund Hillary Dies

Famed New Zealander Edmund Hillary, beekeeper and explorer extraordinaire has died at 88.

(CNN) -- Sir Edmund Hillary, who gained worldwide fame after he and guide Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, has died, according to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

On May 29, 1953, Hillary and Tenzing became the first men known to have climbed the 29,035 feet to the top of Everest and safely return.

A beekeeper who served during World War II in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Hillary began climbing while in high school and traveled to the central Himalayas to join a British party exploring the southern face of Everest in 1951.

He returned in 1953, when he and Tenzing made their ascent -- spending 15-30 minutes at the summit. Hillary left a crucifix at the top of the mountain and Tenzing, in keeping with his Buddhist beliefs, left an offering of food.

Hillary took a picture of Tenzing at the peak but, because the Sherpa guide did not know how to use a camera, there are no pictures of Hillary there.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II upon his return to England, but continued exploring -- reaching the South Pole by tractor in 1958, joining the first group to climb Antarctica's Mt. Herschel in 1967 and boating east Himalayan rivers and the Ganges.

In his later years, Hillary became a strong supporter of environmental causes and worked to improve the lives of Nepal's Sherpas -- helping to build and fund schools for them. CNN's Jonathan Mann looks at the life of Sir Edmund Hillary »

Hillary was not always complimentary of the more than 1,300 people who have climbed Everest since he did. In 2006, he harshly criticized a group of about 40 climbers that left Englishman David Sharp, 34, to die as they kept climbing to the top of Everest.

"Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain," he said at the time. "I think the whole attitude toward climbing Mt. Everest has become rather horrifying -- the people just want to get to the top."

In 2003, Hillary was made an honorary citizen of Nepal on the 50th anniversary of his historic climb.

"The legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary will live on," Clark said "His exploits continue to inspire new generations of New Zealanders, as they have for more than half a century already."

All About Edmund Hillary • New Zealand • Mount Everest


01 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2008, Bloggers! We must continue to move forward to make progress against the Uber Nazis.


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