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Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary

 

EARLY LIFE

 

  • Hillary was born to Percival Augustus and Gertrude Hillary in Auckland, New Zealand, on 20 July 1919.
  • He became interested in climbing when he was 16 following a 1935 school trip to Mount Ruapehu, after which he showed more interest in tramping than in studying and said he “wanted to see the world”.
  • He then attended Auckland University College, and joined the Tramping Club there. But in 1938 “after two notably unsuccessful years studying mathematics and science” he gave up on formal education
THE RISING

 

  • He then became an apiarist (beekeeper). he kept bees in summer, and concentrated on climbing in winter. n 1939 he completed his first major climb, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier, near Aoraki / Mount Cook in the Southern Alps.
  • In 1951 he was part of a British reconnaissance expedition to Everest led by Eric Shipton, before joining the successful British attempt of 1953.
  • In 1949, the long-standing climbing route to the summit of Everest was closed by Chinese-controlled Tibet. For the next several years, Nepal allowed only one or two expeditions per year.
EVEREST

 

  • A Swiss expedition (in which Tenzing took part) attempted to reach the summit in 1952, but was forced back by bad weather around 800 feet (240 m) below the summit. In 1952 Hillary learned that he and Lowe had been invited by the Joint Himalayan Committee for the 1953 British attempt and immediately accepted.
  • Shipton was named as leader but was replaced by Hunt. Hillary had objected but was immediately impressed by Hunt’s energy and determination. Hillary had intended to climb with Lowe, but Hunt named two teams for the ascent: Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans; and Hillary and Tenzing
 EVEREST

 

  • The Hunt expedition totalled over 400 people, including 362 porters, 20 Sherpa guides, and 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) of baggage.
  • 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.
  • The expedition set up base camp in March 1953 and, working slowly, set up its final camp at the South Col at 25,900 feet (7,890 m). On 26 May, Bourdillon and Evans attempted the climb but turned back when Evans’ oxygen system failed.
EVEREST

 

  • Hunt then directed Hillary and Tenzing to attempt the summit. Snow and wind delayed them at the South Col for two days. They set out on 28 May with the support of Lowe, Alfred Gregory, and Ang Nyima.
  • At 4 a.m. on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay awoke in camp nine and readied themselves for their climb.
  • Hillary discovered that his boots had frozen and thus spent two hours defrosting them. The two men left camp at 6:30 a.m. During their climb, they came upon one particularly difficult rock face, but Hillary found a way to climb it. (The rock face is now called “Hillary’s Step.)
EVEREST

 

  • At 11:30 a.m., Hillary and Tenzing reached the summit of Mount Everest. Hillary reached out to shake Tenzing’s hand, but Tenzing gave him a hug in return.
  • The two men enjoyed only 15 minutes at the top of the world because of their low air supply. They spent their time taking photographs, taking in the view, placing a food offering (Tenzing), and looking for any sign that the missing climbers from 1924 had been there before them (they didn’t find any).
  • When their 15 minutes were up, Hillary and Tenzing began making their way back down the mountain. News of the successful climb quickly made it around the world. Both Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became heroes
AFTERMATH

 

  • They returned to Kathmandu a few days later and learned that Hillary had already been appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and Hunt a Knight Bachelor.
  •  In addition to the knighting of Hillary and Hunt, Tenzing – ineligible for knighthood as a Nepalese citizen – received the George Medal.Tenzing also received the Star of Nepal from King Tribhuvan.
  • Hillary climbed ten other peaks in the Himalayas on further visits in 1956, 1960–1961, and 1963–1965.
DEATH

 

  • On 22 April 2007, while on a trip to Kathmandu, Hillary suffered a fall, and was hospitalised after returning to New Zealand.On 11 January 2008 he died of heart failure at Auckland City Hospital