Author Topic: Hillary dies (no, not that one)  (Read 1110 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

fatman

  • Guest
Hillary dies (no, not that one)
« on: January 10, 2008, 08:09:25 PM »
Everest conqueror Hillary dies at 88

updated 6 minutes ago
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Sir Edmund Hillary, the unassuming beekeeper who conquered Mount Everest to win renown as one of the 20th century's greatest adventurers, has died, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced Friday. He was 88.

The gangling New Zealander devoted much of his life to aiding the mountain people of Nepal and took his fame in stride, preferring to be called "Ed" and considering himself just an ordinary beekeeper.

"Sir Ed described himself as an average New Zealander with modest abilities. In reality, he was a colossus. He was an heroic figure who not only 'knocked off' Everest but lived a life of determination, humility, and generosity," Clark said in a statement.

"The legendary mountaineer, adventurer, and philanthropist is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived," she said.

Man of adventure, humility
Hillary's life was marked by grand achievements, high adventure, discovery, excitement ? and by his personal humility. He only admitted being the first man atop Everest long after the death of climbing companion Tenzing Norgay.

He had pride in his feats. Returning to base camp as the man who took the first step onto the top of the world's highest peak, he declared: "We knocked the bastard off."

 The accomplishment as part of a British climbing expedition even added luster to the coronation of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II four days later, and she knighted Hillary as one of her first acts.

But he was more proud of his decades-long campaign to set up schools and health clinics in Nepal, the homeland of Tenzing Norgay, the mountain guide with whom he stood arm in arm on the summit of Everest on May 29, 1953.

Hillary and Norgay on top of the world
He wrote of the pair's final steps to the top of the world: "Another few weary steps and there was nothing above us but the sky. There was no false cornice, no final pinnacle. We were standing together on the summit. There was enough space for about six people. We had conquered Everest.

"Awe, wonder, humility, pride, exaltation ? these surely ought to be the confused emotions of the first men to stand on the highest peak on Earth, after so many others had failed," Hillary noted.

"But my dominant reactions were relief and surprise. Relief because the long grind was over and the unattainable had been attained. And surprise, because it had happened to me, old Ed Hillary, the beekeeper, once the star pupil of the Tuakau District School, but no great shakes at Auckland Grammar (high school) and a no-hoper at university, first to the top of Everest. I just didn't believe it.

He said: "I removed my oxygen mask to take some pictures. It wasn't enough just to get to the top. We had to get back with the evidence. Fifteen minutes later we began the descent."

His life's philosophy
His philosophy of life was simple: "Adventuring can be for the ordinary person with ordinary qualities, such as I regard myself," he said in a 1975 interview after writing his autobiography, "Nothing Venture, Nothing Win."

Close friends described him as having unbounded enthusiasm for both life and adventure.

"We all have dreams ? but Ed has dreams, then he's got this incredible drive, and goes ahead and does it," long-time friend Jim Wilson said in 1993.

Hillary summarized it for schoolchildren in 1998, when he said one didn't have to be a genius to do well in life.

"I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it," he said before planting some endangered Himalayan oaks in the school grounds.

The planting was part of his program to reforest upland areas of Nepal.

Knighted by Queen Elizabeth
Hillary remains the only non-political person outside Britain honored as a member of the Britain's Order of the Garter, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II on just 24 knights and ladies living worldwide at any time.

He reached the summit of Everest four days before Elizabeth was crowned Queen of Britain and the Empire on June 2, 1953. She immediately knighted the angular, self-deprecating Hillary, who was just 33.

Throughout his 88 years, he was always the atypical "typical New Zealander" who spoke his mind.

In his 1999 book "View from the Summit," Hillary finally broke his long public silence about whether it was he or Norgay who was the first man to step atop Everest.

"We drew closer together as Tenzing brought in the slack on the rope. I continued cutting a line of steps upwards. Next moment I had moved onto a flattish exposed area of snow with nothing by space in every direction," Hillary wrote.

"Tenzing quickly joined me and we looked round in wonder. To our immense satisfaction we realized with had reached the top of the world."

Fund-raising efforts for Nepal
Before Norgay's death in 1986, Hillary consistently refused to confirm he was first, saying he and the Sherpa had climbed as a team to the top. It was a measure of his personal modesty, and of his commitment to his colleagues.

He later recalled his surprise at the huge international interest in their feat. "I was a bit taken aback to tell you the truth. I was absolutely astonished that everyone should be so interested in us just climbing a mountain."

Hillary never forgot the small mountainous country that propelled him to worldwide fame. He revisited Nepal constantly over the next 54 years.

Without fanfare and without compensation, Hillary spend decades pouring energy and resources from his own fund-raising efforts into Nepal through the Himalayan Trust he founded in 1962.

Known as "burra sahib" ? "big man," for his 6 feet 2 inches ? by the Nepalese, Hillary funded and helped build hospitals, health clinics, airfields and schools.

He raised funds for higher education for Sherpa families, and helped set up reforestation programs in the impoverished country. About $250,000 a year was raised by the charity for projects in Nepal


Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22597658/?GT1=10755

Lanya

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3300
    • View Profile
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Hillary dies (no, not that one)
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 12:22:12 AM »
I heard the news but I didn't know very much at all about him.  Wonderful story.
Planned Parenthood is America’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care.