Sir Edmund Percival Hillary KG ONZ KBE was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest
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Sir Edmund Percival Hillary KG ONZ KBE (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand's High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal.Born
Edmund Percival Hillary
20 July 1919
Auckland, New Zealand
Died11 January 2008 (aged 88)
Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand
Known forWith Tenzing Norgay, first to reach summit of Mount EverestSpouse(s)
Louise Mary Rose
(m. 1953; died 1975)
(m. 1989; his death 2008)
Hillary became interested in mountaineering while in secondary school. He made his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier. He served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II. Prior to the Everest expedition, Hillary had been part of the British reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951 as well as an unsuccessful attempt to climb Cho Oyu in 1952. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest.
Following his ascent of Everest, Hillary devoted himself to assisting the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he established. His efforts are credited with the construction of many schools and hospitals in Nepal. Hillary had numerous honours conferred upon him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995. Upon his death in 2008, he was given a state funeral in New Zealand.
Hillary was born to Percival Augustus and Gertrude (née Clark) Hillary in Auckland, New Zealand, on 20 July 1919. His father Percy had served at Gallipoli with the 15th (North Auckland) Regiment, and was discharged "medically unfit" from the Army in 1916; he had married Gertrude after his return to New Zealand. His grandparents had emigrated from Yorkshire to northern Wairoa in the mid-19th century.
His family moved to Tuakau, south of Auckland, in 1920, after Percy was allocated eight acres (3.2 ha) of land there as a returned soldier. Percy had been a journalist prewar, and soon became founding editor of the weekly Tuakau District News as well as an apiarist. Ed had a sister June (born 1917) and a brother Rex (born 1920).
Hillary was educated at Tuakau Primary School and then Auckland Grammar School.He finished primary school aged 11 or two years early, and at "Grammar" achieved average marks. His mother wanted him to go to a "good school" and he commuted by train, cycling to Tuakau station before 7 am and returning after 6 pm for 3½ years (a one hour and 40 minutes journey each way) until the family moved to Remuera, Auckland in 1935, his last of four years at "Grammar".
He was initially smaller than his peers and shy, and did not enjoy "Grammar", where commuting barred him from after-school activities. He grew to be 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm) and gained confidence after taking up boxing.
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.
He then became an apiarist (beekeeper) with his father and brother Rex; with 1600 hives to attend, thousands of 90 lb (41 kg) boxes of honey comb to handle, and 12 to 100 bee-stings daily. So he kept bees in summer, and concentrated on climbing in winter. His father also edited the journal "The N.Z. Honeybee" and his mother Gertrude was famous for breeding and selling queen bees.
In 1938 he went to hear Herbert Sutcliffe, the proponent of a life philosophy called "Radiant Living", with his family. The family all became foundation members, and his mother became its secretary in 1939. He went to Gisborne as Sutcliff’s assistant, and in 1941 sat examinations to become a teacher of Radiant Living, getting a 100% pass mark. His test lecture was on "Inferiority – cause and cure". He said of his five year association with the movement that "I learned to speak confidently from the platform; to think more freely on important topics; to mix more readily with a wide variety of people". Tenets included healthy eating (the salads that June took to university for lunch) and pacificism. He joined the Radiant Living Tramping Club, and further developed his love of the outdoors in the Waitakere Ranges.
In 1939 he completed his first major climb, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier, near Aoraki / Mount Cook in the Southern Alps.Climbing brought new friends; Harry Ayres and George Lowe became "the first real friends I'd ever had". 
World War II
At the outbreak of World War II, Hillary applied to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) but quickly withdrew the application, later writing that he was "harassed by my religious conscience". In 1943, with the Japanese threat in the Pacific and the arrival of conscription, he joined the RNZAF as a navigator in No. 6 Squadron RNZAF and later No. 5 Squadron RNZAF on Catalina flying boats. In 1945, he was sent to Fiji and to the Solomon Islands, where he was badly burnt in an accident.
In January 1948, Hillary and others ascended the south ridge of Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak. 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 1952, Hillary and George Lowe were part of the British team led by Shipton, that attempted Cho Oyu. After that attempt failed due to the lack of route from the Nepal side, Hillary and Lowe crossed the Nup La pass into Tibet and reached the old Camp II, on the northern side, where all the previous expeditions had camped.
1953 Everest expedition
Main article: 1953 British Mount Everest expedition
External audio￼ Sir Edmund Hillary Scales the Heights of Literary Society, 1954, Hillary speaks 5:00–18:57, WNYC
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. 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 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. Hillary, therefore, made a concerted effort to forge a working friendship with Tenzing.
On 6 June 1953 Hillary was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal the same year. On 6 February 1987, he was the fourth appointee to the Order of New Zealand. He was also awarded the Polar Medal in 1958 for his part in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, 1st Class of the Kingdom of Nepal in 1953, and the Coronation Medal in 1975. On 22 April 1995 Hillary was appointed Knight Companion of The Most Noble Order of the Garter. On 17 June 2004 Hillary was awarded Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. The Government of India conferred on him its second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, posthumously, in 2008.
To mark 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, Nepal. He was the first foreign national to receive that honour.
Since 1992, New Zealand's $5 note has featured Hillary's portrait, making him the only living person not a current head of state ever to appear on a New Zealand banknote. In giving his permission, Hillary insisted that Aoraki / Mount Cook rather than Mount Everest be used as the backdrop.
Annual Reader's Digest polls from 2005 to 2007 named Hillary as "New Zealand's most trusted individual".
Hillary's favoured New Zealand charity was the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, of which he was patron for 35 years. He was particularly keen on how this organisation introduced young New Zealanders to the outdoors in a very similar way to his first experience of a school trip to Mt Ruapehu at the age of 16. A 2.3-metre (7.5 ft) bronze statue of Hillary was erected outside The Hermitage Hotel at Mount Cook Village; it was unveiled by Hillary himself in 2003. Various streets, institutions and organisations around New Zealand and abroad are named after him – for example, the Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara, which was established by Hillary in 2001.
Two Antarctic features are named after Hillary. The Hillary Coast is a section of coastline south of Ross Island and north of the Shackleton Coast. The Hillary Canyon, an undersea feature in the Ross Sea, appears on the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, published by the International Hydrographic Organization.
Hillary married Louise Mary Rose on 3 September 1953, soon after the ascent of Everest; he admitted he was terrified of proposing to her and relied on her mother to propose on his behalf. They had three children: Peter (born 1954), Sarah (born 1955) and Belinda (1959–1975). In 1975 while en route to join Hillary in the village of Phaphlu, where he was helping to build a hospital, Louise and Belinda were killed in a plane crash near Kathmandu airport shortly after take-off. In 1989 he married June Mulgrew, the widow of his close friend Peter Mulgrew, who died on Air New Zealand Flight 901 in 1979.
His son Peter Hillary also became a climber, summiting Everest in 1990. In May 2002 Peter climbed Everest as part of a 50th anniversary celebration; Jamling Tenzing Norgay (son of Tenzing who had died in 1986) was also part of the expedition.
Hillary's home for most of his life was a property on Remuera Road in Auckland City, where he enjoyed reading adventure and science fiction novels in his retirement.He also built a bach at Whites Beach, one of Auckland's west coast beaches in the former Waitakere City, between Anawhata and North Piha; a friend called it Hillary's place of solace, where he could escape media attention.
The Hillary family has had a connection with the west coast of Auckland since 1925, when Louise's father built a bach at Anawhata.The family donated land at Whites Beach that is now crossed by trampers on the Hillary Trail, named for Edmund. Hillary said of the area: "That is the thing that international travel brings home to me – it's always good to be going home. This is the only place I want to live in; this is the place I want to see out my days."
Following his ascent of Everest he devoted himself to assisting the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he established in 1960 and led until his death in 2008. His efforts are credited with the construction of 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. He was also the Honorary President of Mountain Wilderness, an international NGO dedicated to the worldwide protection of mountains.
Hillary supported the Labour Party in the 1975 New Zealand 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; the position was offered to Keith Holyoake in 1977. In 1985, Hillary was appointed New Zealand High Commissioner to India (concurrently High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal) and spent four and a half years based in New Delhi.
In 1975, Hillary served as a vice president for the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, a national pro-choice advocacy group. He was also a patron of REPEAL, an organization seeking repeal of the restrictive Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977.
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.Flags were lowered to half-mast on New Zealand public buildings and at Scott Base in Antarctica, and Prime Minister Helen Clark called Hillary's death a "profound loss to New Zealand".
On 21 January, Hillary's casket was taken into Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, to lie in state. A state funeral was held on 22 January 2008, after which his body was cremated. On 29 February 2008 most of his ashes were scattered in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf per his desire. The remainder went to a Nepalese monastery near Everest; a plan to scatter them on the summit was cancelled in 2010.
In January 2008, Lukla Airport, in Lukla, Nepal, was renamed to Tenzing–Hillary Airport in recognition of their promotion of its construction. On 2 April 2008, a service of thanksgiving in Hillary's honour at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle was attended by Queen Elizabeth II, New Zealand dignitaries including Prime Minister Helen Clark, and members of Hillary's and Norgay's families; Gurkha soldiers from Nepal stood guard outside the ceremony. In October 2008, it was announced that future rugby test matches between England and New Zealand would be played for the Hillary Shield. In 2009 the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in New Zealand – formerly the Young New Zealanders' Challenge – was renamed "The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award".On 5 November 2008, a commemorative set of five stamps was issued by New Zealand Post.
There have been many calls for lasting tributes to Hillary. The first major public tribute has been by way of the "Summits for Ed" tribute tour organised by the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation. This tribute tour went from Bluff at the bottom of the South Island to Cape Reinga at the tip of the North Island, visiting 39 towns and cities along the way. In each venue, school children and members of the public were invited to join together to climb a significant hill or site in their area to show their respect for Hillary. The public were also invited to bring small rocks or pebbles that had special significance to them, that would be included in a memorial to Hillary at the base of Mt Ruapehu, in the grounds of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre. Funds donated during the tour are used by the foundation to sponsor young New Zealanders on outdoor courses. Over 8,000 persons attended these "Summit" climbs between March and May 2008.
Books written by Edmund HillaryTitleYearPublisherISBN/ASINCo-authorRefHigh Adventure[a]1955Hodder & Stoughton[b]ISBN 1-932302-02-6[c]n/aEast of Everest — An Account of the New Zealand Alpine Club Himalayan Expedition to the Barun Valley in 19541956E. P. DuttonASIN B000EW84UMGeorge LoweNo Latitude for Error1961Hodder & Stoughton.ASIN B000H6UVP6n/aThe New Zealand Antarctic Expedition1959R.W. Stiles, printers.ASIN B0007K6D72n/aThe Crossing of Antarctica: The Commonwealth Transantarctic Expedition, 1955–19581958CassellASIN B000HJGZ08Vivian FuchsHigh in the thin cold air[d]1962DoubledayASIN B00005W121Desmond DoigSchoolhouse in the Clouds1965Hodder & StoughtonASIN B00005WRBBn/aNothing Venture, Nothing Win1975Hodder & StoughtonISBN 0-340-21296-9n/aFrom the Ocean to the Sky: Jet Boating Up the Ganges1979VikingISBN 0-7089-0587-0n/aTwo Generations[e]1984Hodder & StoughtonISBN 0-340-35420-8Peter Hillary[f]View from the Summit: The Remarkable Memoir by the First Person to Conquer Everest2000Pocket
^ Also High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest^ (reprinted Oxford University Press (paperback)^ and ISBN 0-19-516734-1^ the story of the Himalayan Expedition, led by Sir Edmund Hillary, sponsored by World Book Encyclopedia^ reissued as Ascent: Two Lives Explored: The Autobiographies of Sir Edmund and Peter Hillary^ (1992) Paragon House Publishers ISBN 1-55778-408-6.
^ a b c d "Famous New Zealanders". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 23 January 2007.^ a b c d "Edmund Hillary". New Zealand History. Wellington, New Zealand: Research and Publishing Group of the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 15 February 2018.^ Tyler, Heather (8 October 2005). "Authorised Hillary biography reveals private touches". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. Retrieved 29 September 2011.^ Johnston 2005, p. 16.^ Robinson, Simon (10 January 2008). "Sir Edmund Hillary: Top of the World". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 14 January 2008.^ Johnston 2005, pp. 20,22,23.^ a b "'We knocked the bastard off'". The Guardian. 13 March 2003. Retrieved 1 July 2018.^ Hillary 1955, p. 1.^ a b Johnston 2005, p. 25.^ 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. Archived25 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine