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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



Blogger The Cunning Runt said...

This is sad news indeed - a true hero to me and many of my generation, and a humanitarian of some import.

His spirit and good works will be missed!

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

One hopes the world will remember the Sherpas who make such endeavors possible.

Thanks for reading, CR!

Blogger FranIAm said...

I was saddened by his passing but I completely agree with you that it was/is the Sherpas who make these achievements possible.

Everest is an obsession with me. No- I am not a climber. I just have this obsession with the mountain.

Would I climb it if I could? I don't know, I am one of those who feel like something sacred got overrun with ego.

Hmmm... sounds like the world around us.

Anyway, I think that if nothing else, Tenzing Norgay and Hillary showed us that such great things are not easily achieved alone.

One must have friends, partners, community - something.

Nice blog Yoga!

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

In 1982 I did some climbing on Mt. Kenya. Not a summit attempt, but some fairly easy stuff. Previous climbing parties and their local equipment carriers have left plenty of trash on the mountain. The NOLS's practice of Leave No Trace was not in effect.

I've climbed on/off for a few years, but prefer warmer activities. You are right in that no man is an island. What shall it be termed--mutual dependence?

Thanks for reading, FIA!

Blogger Melissa said...

This was shocking to me for a different reason. I'd always thought that Sir Edmund Hillary had long passed. I had no idea he was only in his eightys.

I've hiked the lower elevations of the mountains of Hillary's homeland. New Zealand is a beautiful country.

I've been posting again and thought I'd share this video with someone I believe might appreciate it:


I posted the video on my blog too. Enjoy.

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

New Zealand!?! Lucky you!
Will check the video later; must rush.
Thanks for reading, Melissa!


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