Sunday, January 11, 2009

Edmund Hillary's first death anniversary

Sunday the 11th of January marks the first anniversary of the death of Sir Edmund Hillary.
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest (8,850 metres), died of a heart attack at the Auckland City Hospital at the age of 88. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.
Since his ascent, Sir Edmund has devoted his life to helping the Sherpas of Nepal's Khumbu region through the Himalayan Trust a non-profit organization set up by the New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. The organization is dedicated to improving the living conditions and economy of people living in the Himalayas. Although he will always be remembered for reaching the summit of Everest, his greatest satisfaction came with the Nepalese people he befriended. He explained: "My most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain" . He was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003.
In a 2005 interview said: "My relationship with the mountains actually started when I was 16. Every year a group used to be taken from Auckland Grammar down to the Tangariro National Park for a skiing holiday (...) That was really the start of my enthusiasm for snow and ice and mountains in general. For a few years I skied whenever I could". He enjoyed skiing immensely, and when he was 50 years old, he decided to draw up a list of half a dozen things that he really hadn't done very well, and he was going to make efforts to improve. "One of them was skiing, and I did become a very much better skier".