Feeds

Sir Edmund Hillary dies at 88

RIP conqueror of Everest

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

Sir Edmund Hillary, the NZ climber who in 1953 conquered Mount Everest and subsequently did much to improve the lot of Nepal's Sherpa people has died aged 88.

Hillary passed away on Friday morning at Auckland City Hospital as a result of pneumonia, local media reported. NZ prime minister Helen Clark said: "The legendary mountaineer, adventurer, and philanthropist is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived. But most of all he was a quintessential Kiwi. He was a colossus. He was an heroic figure who not only knocked off Everest but lived a life of determination, humility, and generosity."

Hillary was born in in Auckland on 20 July 1919, and led an uneventful life as a beekeeper until his historic assault on the world's highest peak. Selected by British expedition leader John Hunt for the final push because of his "experience in the Himalayas and immense energy and strength", as Reuters puts it, he and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay left the mountain's South Col on the cloudless morning of 29 May, 1953.

At 11.30am, having tackled what became the famous "Hillary Step" - a challenging 40-ft rock which the climber defeated by "jamming" his way up a narrow fissure before hauling Tenzing up behind him - the pair set foot on the summit. Following the triumph, neither man would say who'd actually planted the first climbing boot atop Everest, but it was later suggested that the honour was Hillary's.*

Hillary told companions after the climb: "We knocked the bastard off."

The news broke in London on June 2, the eve of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. Hillary was immediately knighted, while Tenzing received the George Medal. The latter later became director of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, and died in 1986.

Hillary, meanwhile, devoted some of his considerable energy to further adventures, including a 1958 jaunt to the South Pole in modified tractors - the first successful vehicle-borne trip to the bottom of the world - and a 1975 jetboat expedition to the source of the Ganges.

Much of his time, however, was dedicated to bettering the lot of the Sherpa people. His Himalaya Trust raised about US$250k annually which was invested in schools, hospitals, bridges, pipelines and even an airfield, many of which Hillary helped personally to build.

Oz adventurer and philanthropist Dick Smith said of Hillary's life: "To me he was the greatest adventurer of the 20th century. Where Ed is different is that his whole life was completely devoted to the people of the Himalayas. He was the bloke who inspired us all."

Of Hillary's most famous exploit, Oz's leading high altitude climber and two-time Everest summit veteran Andrew Lock said: "It was ground-breaking stuff, trying to find out if the human body could even survive those altitudes in those days. He was just the sort of climber that all other climbers looked up to as the absolute pinnacle of appropriate and ethical climbing." ®

Bootnote

*Or maybe not. As some of you have pointed out, Hillary himself later said after Tenzing's death that his companion had been the first. Whatever the truth, we reckon the pair should share the honours.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.