Thursday, January 10, 2008
sir edmund hillary r.i.p.
breaking news from the bbc:
"Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, has died aged 88. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark described the explorer as a heroic figure and said all New Zealanders would deeply mourn his passing. Sir Edmund's health had reportedly been in decline since April, when he suffered a fall while visiting Nepal. He was the first man to climb the 8,850m (29,035ft) peak with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on 29 May 1953."
and now, a few hours later, some obits:
"Hillary's life was marked by grand achievements, high adventure, discovery, excitement — and by his personal humility. Humble to the point that 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.""
"... he had a narrow escape when the ice gave way as he was moving loads up to this camp, plunging him into a crevasse. Fortunately Tenzing, who was following, thrust his ice-axe in the snow, and whipped the rope round it in good belay. It tightened just in time to prevent Hillary being smashed to pieces at the bottom of the crevasse. Thereafter Hillary began to think of Tenzing as the ideal partner in a bid for the summit."
the times 1953 report on the conquest of everest is here.
hillary's own account of the conquest here.
"Remarkably though, the climb went unrecorded in picture form. While Sir Edmund took the famous photo of his sherpa companion posing with his ice axe, he refused Norgay’s offer to take one of him. Norgay had never used a camera before “and the summit of Everest was hardly the place to show him how”, Hillary later said."
the times online
"He will not just be remembered as a mountaineer, albeit the most celebrated in the sport's history. "Ed's greatest legacy is the assistance he gave to the Sherpa people," said Mr Dingle. "As a result of seeing Nepal and his love of the mountains and the people, he went back and suggested that he could help in some way." Known to the Sherpa people as Burra-sahib – meaning "big in stature, big in heart" – Sir Edmund never forgot the place that gave him, in every sense, his international prominence."