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Friday, January 11, 2008

RIP Hillary: Sir Edmund Hillary, That Is

The media surrounding Hillary Clinton, and related opinions is the normal focus here. However, a man who achieved a great feat with tremendous class has died, and this Hillary should be talked about.

Edmund Hillary, first to climb Mt. Everest, dies
Los Angeles Time
His exploit brought him worldwide fame and a lifelong fealty to Nepal.
By Dennis McLellan January 11, 2008 (more)

Sir Edmund Hillary, the mountain-climbing New Zealand beekeeper who became a mid-20th century hero as the first person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, has died. He was 88.

Hillary, who made his historic climb to the top of the world's highest peak with Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, died today at a hospital in Auckland City, New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Helen Clark. A statement from the Auckland District Health Board said he died of a heart attack.

"Sir Ed described himself as an average New Zealander with modest abilities. In reality, he was a colossus," Clark said.

Wikipedia on it:

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE (20 July 191911 January 2008)[1][2] was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. On 29 May 1953, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.

Edmund Hillary was born to Percival Augustus Hillary and Gertrude Hillary, née Clark, in Tuakau (south of Auckland), on 20 July 1919.[3] His grandparents were early settlers in northern Wairoa in the mid 19th century after emigrating from Yorkshire.[4] Hillary was educated at Auckland Grammar School. His daily bus journey to and from school was over two hours each way, during which he regularly used the time to read. As he grew up he was smaller than his peers and very shy so he took refuge in his books and daydreams of a life filled with adventure. At 16 his interest in climbing was sparked during a school trip to Mount Ruapehu. Though gangly and uncoordinated he found that he was physically strong and had greater endurance than many of his tramping companions. In 1939 he completed his first major climb, reaching the summit of Mount Oliver in the Southern Alps.

With his brother, Rex, Hillary became a beekeeper,[3][5] a summer occupation that allowed him to pursue climbing in the winter.[6]

World War II
On the outbreak of the war Hillary applied to join the air force, but withdrew the application before it was considered because he was "harassed by my religious conscience".[7] Following the introduction of conscription on the outbreak of war in the Pacific, in 1943 Hillary joined the RNZAF as a navigator and served on Catalina flying boats. In 1945 he was sent to Fiji and to the Solomon Islands where he was badly burned in a boating accident, after which he was repatriated to New Zealand.[7]

Hillary was part of a British reconnaissance expedition to Everest in 1951 led by Eric Shipton before joining the successful British attempt of 1953.
In 1952 Hillary and George Lowe were part of the British team led by Eric Shipton that attempted Cho Oyu. After that attempt failed due to the lack of route from the Nepal side, Hillary and Lowe crossed the Lho-La into Tibet and reached the old Camp II, on the northern side, where all the pre-war expeditions camped.

1953 Everest Expedition
The route to Everest was closed by Chinese-controlled Tibet and Nepal only allowed one expedition per year. A Swiss expedition (in which Tenzing took part) had attempted to reach the summit in 1952 but was turned back by bad weather 800 feet (260 m) from the summit. During a 1952 trip in the Alps Hillary discovered he and his friend George Lowe had been invited for the approved British 1953 attempt and immediately accepted.[8]

Shipton was named as leader but was replaced by Hunt. Hillary considered pulling out but both Hunt and Shipton talked him into remaining. Hillary was intending to climb with Lowe but Hunt named two teams for the assault: Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans; and Hillary and Tenzing. Hillary therefore made a concerted effort to forge a working friendship with Tenzing.[8]
The Hunt expedition, like many such expeditions, was a team effort. Lowe supervised the preparation of the Lhotse Face, a huge and steep ice face, for climbing. Hillary forged a route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall.[8]

The expedition set up base camp in March 1953. Working slowly it set up its final camp at the South Col at 7,900 metres (25,900 ft). On 26 May Bourdillon and Evans attempted the climb but turned back when Evans's oxygen system failed. The pair had reached the South Summit, coming within 100 metres (330 ft) of the summit.[9] Hunt then directed Hillary and Tenzing to go for the summit.

Snow and wind held the pair up at the South Col for two days. They set out on 28 May with a support trio of Lowe, Alfred Gregory and Ang Nyima. The two pitched a tent at 8,500 metres (27,900 ft) on 28 May while their support group returned down the mountain. On the following morning Hillary discovered that his boots had frozen solid outside the tent. He spent two hours warming them before he and Tenzing attempted the final ascent wearing 30-pound (10 kg) packs.[8] The crucial move of the last part of the ascent was the 40-foot (12 m) rock face later named the "Hillary Step". Hillary saw a means to wedge his way up a crack in the face between the rock wall and the ice and Tenzing followed.[10] From there the following effort was relatively simple. They reached the summit at 11:30 am.[3]. As Hillary put it, "A few more whacks of the ice axe in the firm snow, and we stood on top."[11]

Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Mt Everest. Photograph taken by Hillary, 29 May 1953
They spent only about 15 minutes at the summit. They unsuccessfully looked for evidence of the earlier Mallory expedition. Hillary took Tenzing's photo, Tenzing left chocolates in the snow as an offering, and Hillary left a cross that he had been given.[8] Because Tenzing did not know how to use a camera, there are no pictures of Hillary there.[12]

The two had to take care on the descent after discovering that drifting snow had covered their tracks to complicate the task. The first person they met was Lowe, who had climbed up to meet them with hot soup.[8]

"Well George, we finally knocked the bastard off."
– Hillary's first words, to lifelong friend George Lowe, on returning from Everest's summit
News of the successful expedition reached Britain on the day of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The group was surprised by the international acclaim that they received upon arriving in Kathmandu.[8]

After Everest
Hillary climbed ten other peaks in the Himalayas on further visits in 1956, 1960–61 and 1963–65. He also reached the South Pole as part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, for which he led the New Zealand section, on 4 January 1958. His party was the first to reach the Pole since Amundsen in 1911 and Scott in 1912, and the very first that motor vehicles had ever reached the Pole.

He led a jetboat expedition, titled "Ocean to Sky", from the mouth of the Ganges River to its source in 1977. In 1979, he was scheduled to act as a commentator on the ill-fated Air New Zealand Flight 901, an Antarctic sightseeing flight, but had to pull out due to work commitments elsewhere. He was replaced by his close friend Peter Mulgrew, who perished as the aircraft crashed on Mount Erebus.[13]

Hillary took part in the 1975 general election, as a member of the "Citizens for Rowling" campaign. His involvement in this campaign was seen as precluding his nomination as Governor-General,[14] with the position instead being offered to Keith Holyoake in 1977. However, in 1985 he was appointed New Zealand High Commissioner (ambassador) to India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and spent four and a half years based in New Delhi.

Edmund Hillary in 1957 after accompanying the first plane to land at the Marble Point ground air strip, Antarctica.

In 1985 he accompanied Neil Armstrong in a small twin-engined ski plane over the Arctic Ocean and landed at the North Pole. He thus became the first man to stand at both poles and on the summit of Everest.

In January 2007, Hillary traveled to Antarctica to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Scott Base. He flew to the station on 18 January 2007 with a delegation including the Prime Minister.[15][16][17] While there he called for the British government to contribute to the upkeep of Scott's and Shackleton's huts.[18]

On 22 April 2007 while on a trip to Kathmandu he is reported to have suffered a fall. There was no comment on the nature of his illness and he did not immediately seek treatment. He was hospitalized after returning to New Zealand.[19]

Public recognition

Edmund Hillary on the New Zealand five-dollar note

Hillary was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on 16 July 1953; a member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ) in 1987; and a Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) on 23 April 1995. Various streets, schools and organisations around New Zealand and abroad are named after him. A few examples are Hillary College (Otara), Edmund Hillary Primary School (Papakura) and the Hillary Commission (now SPARC).

In 1992 Hillary appeared on the updated New Zealand $5 note; Hillary was the only New Zealander to appear on a banknote during their own lifetime.

To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Everest the Nepalese Government conferred honorary citizenship upon Hillary at a special Golden Jubilee celebration in Kathmandu. He was the first foreign national to receive such an honour from the Nepalese.

A 2.3-metre (7.5 ft) bronze statue of Sir Ed was installed outside The Hermitage hotel at Mt Cook village, New Zealand, in 2003.

Family life
Hillary married Louise Mary Rose on 3 September 1953, soon after the ascent of Everest. A shy man, he relied on his future mother-in-law to propose on his behalf[6][5][20]. They had three children: Peter (1954), Sarah (1955) and Belinda (1959).[9][3]

In 1975 while en route to join Hillary in the village of Phaphlu, where he was helping build a hospital, Louise and Belinda were killed in a plane crash near Kathmandu airport shortly after take-off[5].

Hillary married June Mulgrew, the widow of his close friend Peter Mulgrew, on 21 December 1989.[6][21]

His son Peter Hillary has also become a climber, conquering Everest in 1990. In April 2003 Peter and Jamling Tenzing Norgay (son of Tenzing) climbed Everest as part of a 50th anniversary celebration.[22] Hillary has six grandchildren, including Amelia Hillary who is also involved in Hillary's work in the Himalayas.

He devoted all of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan trust, which he founded and to which he had given much of his time and energy. Through his efforts he had succeeded in building many schools and hospitals in this remote region of the Himalayas. He was the Honorary President of the American Himalayan Foundation, a United States non-profit body that helps improve the ecology and living conditions in the Himalayas.

Wikinews has related news:
Sir Edmund Hillary angry with mountaineers who left British climber to die
Hillary spoke of his disdain for the attitudes displayed by many modern mountaineers. In particular he publicly criticized New Zealander Mark Inglis and 40 other climbers who, in various groups, left British climber David Sharp to die in May 2006. He said:
"I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top, it was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say good morning and pass on by."
He also told the New Zealand Herald that he was horrified by the callous attitude of today's climbers:
"They don’t give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress and it doesn’t impress me at all that they leave someone lying under a rock to die."


Wikinews has related news:
Sir Edmund Hillary dead at 88
On 11 January 2008, Sir Edmund Hillary died of heart failure at the Auckland City Hospital at around 9 am NZDT at the age of 88.[23]
Hillary's death was announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark at around 11:20 am during which she stated that his passing was a "profound loss to New Zealand"[24]. His death was recognised by the lowering of flags to half-mast at the New Zealand Parliament, Auckland Harbour Bridge and at Scott Base in Antarctica[25]. Actor and adventurer Brian Blessed, who attempted to climb Everest three times, described Sir Edmund as a "kind of titan"[26].
He was in hospital at the time of his death but was expected to come home that day according to his family[27]. A state funeral has been planned.

Books written by Hillary include:
High Adventure (1955), Oxford University Press (Paperback) ISBN 1932302026
High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest (1955), Oxford University Press (Paperback) ISBN 0195167341
East of Everest - An Account of the New Zealand Alpine Club Himalayan Expedition to the Barun Valley in 1954, with George Lowe (1956), E. P. Dutton and Company, Inc. ASIN B000EW84UM
No Latitude for Error (1961), Hodder & Stoughton. ASIN B000H6UVP6.
The New Zealand Antarctic Expedition (1959), R.W. Stiles, printers. ASIN B0007K6D72.
The crossing of Antarctica; the Commonwealth Transantarctic Expedition, 1955-1958 with Sir Vivian Fuchs (1958). Cassell ASIN B000HJGZ08
High in the thin cold air; the story of the Himalayan Expedition, led by Sir Edmund Hillary, sponsored by World Book Encyclopedia, with Desmond Doig (1963) ASIN B00005W121
Schoolhouse in the Clouds (1965) ASIN B00005WRBB
Nothing Venture, Nothing Win (1975) Hodder & Stoughton General Division ISBN 0340212969
From the Ocean to the Sky: Jet Boating Up the Ganges Ulverscroft Large Print Books Ltd (November 1980) ISBN 0-7089-0587-0
Two Generations with Peter Hillary (1984) Hodder & Stoughton Ltd ISBN 0340354208
Ascent: Two Lives Explored: The Autobiographies of Sir Edmund and Peter Hillary (1992) Paragon House Publishers ISBN 1557784086
View from the Summit: The Remarkable Memoir by the First Person to Conquer Everest (2000) Pocket ISBN 0743400674

^ Radio New Zealand News website
^ New Zealand Herald News website
^ a b c d Christchurch City Libraries, Famous New Zealanders. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
^ Tyler, Heather Tyler Authorised Hillary biography reveals private touches. NZ Herald. October 8, 2005.
^ a b c Robert Sullivan, Time Magazine, Sir Edmund Hillary—A visit with the world's greatest living adventurer, 12 September, 2003. Retrieved 22 January, 2007.
^ a b c National Geographic, Everest: 50 Years and Counting. Retrieved 22 January, 2007.
^ a b Calder, Peter (11 January 2008). Sir Edmund Hillary's life. NZ Herald. APN Holdings NZ Limited. Retrieved on 2008-01-11.
^ a b c d e f g Hillary, Edmund, High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest
^ a b The New Zealand Edge, Sir Edmund Hillary—KING OF THE WORLD. Retrieved 22 January, 2007.
^ Ascent: Two Lives Explored : The Autobiographies of Sir Edmund and Peter Hillary
^ PBS, NOVA, First to Summit, Updated November 2000. Retrieved March 31, 2007
^ Joanna Wright (2003). "The Photographs", in Everest, Summit of Achievement, by the Royal Geographic Society. Simon & Schuster, New York. ISBN 0743243862. Accessed 2008-01-11.
^ New Zealand Antarctic Veterans Association, Operation Deep Freeze—The New Zealand Story, Retrieved January 20, 2007
^ Rowling: The man and the myth by John Henderson, Australia New Zealand Press, 1980.
^ NDTV, Sir Edmund Hillary revisits Antarctica, January 20, 2007.
^ Claire Harvey, The New Zealand Herald, Claire Harvey on Ice: Arriving at Scott Base, January 20, 2007.
^ Radio Network, PM and Sir Edmund Hillary off to Scott Base, January 15, 2007. Retrieved January 20, 2007.
^ The Press Hillary slates Brits over historic huts , retrieved February 12, 2007
^ Stuart Dye, The New Zealand Herald, Clark sends goodwill message to Sir Edmund, Tuesday April 24, 2007
^ Famous New Zealanders. Retrieved 22 January, 2007.
^ Sailing Source, Sir Edmund Hillary to Start Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race. Retrieved 22 January, 2007.
^ NPR, Everest: To the Top of the World, 25 April, 2003. Retrieved 22 January, 2007.
^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10482156
^ CNN.com, Clark statement on Hillary death Retrieved 11 January, 2008
^ Stuff.co.nz, Flag flies at half-mast over a sad Scott Base Retrieved 11 January, 2008
^ Lastingtribute.co.uk, Obituary Retrieved 11 January, 2008
^ Stuff.co.nz, State funeral for Sir Ed Retrieved 11 January, 2008

External links

Wikinews has related news:
Sir Edmund Hillary receives honorary doctorate

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Edmund Hillary
Edmund Hillary hospitalised
NZEdge biography
Himalayan Trust UK site
American Himalayan Foundation
Hillary lands in Antarctica
Picture of statue at Mt Cook
1966 Encyclopaedia entry
TIME: The Greatest Adventures of All Time - The Race to the Pole (interview with Sir Edmund)
On top of the world: Ed Hillary - Full biography of Edmund Hillary on NZHistory.net.nz
Sir Edmund Hillary - Obituary and Tribute
Hillary, Edmund Percival
Mountaineer, explorer
20 July 1919
Tuakau, New Zealand
11 January 2008
Auckland, New Zealand
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Hillary"

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