Explorers Heroes

Sir Edmund Hillary

by Lindsay from Fernandina Beach

Sir Edmund Hillary....he is now known as the man who conquered Mount Everest. A man who had great bravery and courage, and who was, no doubt, a strong man. With the courage he had, he decided to prove to everyone that it was possible to climb one of the tallest mountains in the world. And that he did.

Sir Edmund was born in 1919, growing up in Auckland, New Zealand. Making his living as a beekeeper, he always had an interest in climbing mountains. He climbed mountains in New Zealand, the Alps, and then the Himalayas. He managed to climb 11 peaks all of them over 20,000 feet. But compared to the mountain he really wanted to climb, this was just simple training...he was ready to prove himself.

In 1951 Hillary joined an Everest group, and he joined again in 1952. The expedition reached the south peak by May, and all but two of the climbers that went on this expedition were forced to turn back. Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a native Nepalese climber, were the only members left on the trip. At 11:30 on May 29, 1953, Hillary and Norgay reached 29,028 feet above sea level (the highest spot on Earth). Sir Edmund Hillary, along with Tenzing Norgay, had finally managed to accomplish the feat of climbing Mount Everest. Their feat was announced on the eve of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Edmund, along with the other climbers, returned to Britain, and he was knighted by the queen.

Still having an interest in mountain climbing, Sir Hillary became more concerned with the welfare of the Nepalese. So, in the 1960's, he returned to Nepal to aid the development of buildings, hospitals, and schools. To help these projects, two airstrips were built. The airstrips were used to bring in more tourism, and to help out the mountain climbing experience. Along with the project, more and more of the forest in Nepal was destroyed. Sir Hillary was becoming more concerned with the forests and the environment around the Himalayas. Sir Hillary persuaded the Nepalese to enforce laws about protecting the environment. The Nepalese couldn't afford to enforce these laws, and had no clue how to run a national park, so Hillary persuaded the government of New Zealand to help out with this project.

Soon enough, Sir Hllary and Sir John Hunt published the tales of their expedition in a book entitled, The Ascent of Everest. The book was published in the U.S. as The Conquest of Everest. Not long after, Sir Edmund was known for his great expedition. His life was darkened by the loss of his wife and daughter in a plane crash, sometime in 1975. But today, Sir Hillary has remarried and continues to keep himself busy with environmental causes.

Page created on 4/29/2005 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/29/2005 12:00:00 AM

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