Hillary, Sir Edmund

▪ New Zealander explorer
in full  Edmund Percival Hillary 
born July 20, 1919, Auckland, N.Z.
died Jan. 11, 2008, Auckland
 New Zealand mountain climber (mountaineering) and Antarctic explorer who, with the Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest (Everest, Mount) (29,035 feet [8,850 metres]; see Researcher's Note: Height of Mount Everest), the highest mountain in the world.

      Hillary's father was a beekeeper, an occupation he also pursued. He began climbing in New Zealand's Southern Alps while in high school. After military service in World War II, he resumed climbing and became determined to scale Everest. In 1951 he joined a New Zealand party to the central Himalayas and later that year participated in a British reconnaissance expedition of the southern flank of Everest. He was subsequently invited to join the team of mountaineers planning to climb the peak.

 The well-organized expedition was launched in the spring of 1953, and a high camp from which to mount attempts at the summit was established by mid-May. After a pair of climbers failed to reach the top on May 27, Hillary and Tenzing set out for it early on May 29; by late morning they were standing on the summit. The two shook hands, then Tenzing embraced his partner. Hillary took photographs, and both searched for signs that George Mallory (Mallory, George), a British climber lost on Everest in 1924, had been on the summit. Hillary left behind a crucifix, and Tenzing, a Buddhist, made a food offering. After spending about 15 minutes on the peak, they began their descent. They were met back at camp by their colleague W.G. Lowe, to whom Hillary reputedly said, “Well, George, we knocked the bastard off.” Hillary described his exploits in High Adventure (1955). He made other expeditions to the Everest region during the early 1960s but never again tried to climb to the top.

      Between 1955 and 1958 Hillary commanded the New Zealand group participating in the British Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Vivian Fuchs. He reached the South Pole by tractor on Jan. 4, 1958, and recorded this feat in The Crossing of Antarctica (1958; with Fuchs) and No Latitude for Error (1961). On his Antarctic expedition of 1967, he was among those who scaled Mount Herschel (10,941 feet [3,335 metres]) for the first time. In 1977 he led the first jet boat expedition up the Ganges River and continued by climbing to its source in the Himalayas. His autobiography, Nothing Venture, Nothing Win, was published in 1975.

      Hillary never anticipated the acclaim that would follow the historic ascent. He was knighted in 1953, shortly after the expedition returned to London. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand's high commissioner to India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Over the years numerous other honours were bestowed on him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995. Throughout it, however, he maintained a high level of humility, and his main interest came to be the welfare of the Himalayan peoples of Nepal, especially the Sherpas. Through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded in 1960, he built schools, hospitals, and airfields for them. This dedication to the Sherpas lasted into his later years and was recognized in 2003, when, as part of the observance of the 50th anniversary of his and Tenzing's climb, he was made an honorary citizen of Nepal.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hillary, Sir Edmund —  (1919–2008) New Zealand explorer and mountaineer, first person to scale Everest (1953) …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Hillary, Sir Edmund (Percival) — born July 20, 1919, Auckland, N.Z. New Zealand mountain climber and explorer. Hillary was a professional beekeeper but enjoyed climbing in the New Zealand Alps. In 1951 he joined a New Zealand party to the central Himalayas and then went on to… …   Universalium

  • Hillary, Sir Edmund (Percival) — (n. 20 jul. 1919, Auckland, Nueva Zelanda). Montañista y explorador neozelandés. Hillary era apicultor profesional, pero disfrutaba del montañismo en los Alpes neozelandeses. En 1951 integró una expedición de su país a los Himalaya centrales, y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hillary,Sir Edmund Percival — Hil·la·ry (hĭlʹə rē), Sir Edmund Percival. Born 1919. New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who in 1953 with a Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, first attained the summit of Mount Everest. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hillary, Sir Edmund Percival — ▪ 2009       New Zealand explorer born July 20, 1919, Auckland, N.Z. died Jan. 11, 2008, Auckland galvanized the world when, on May 29, 1953, he and Tibetan mountaineer Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest (8,850 m [29 …   Universalium

  • Sir Edmund Hillary — noun New Zealand mountaineer who in 1953 first attained the summit of Mount Everest with his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay (born in 1919) • Syn: ↑Hillary, ↑Edmund Hillary, ↑Sir Edmund Percival Hillary • Instance Hypernyms: ↑mountaineer, ↑mountain… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sir Edmund Percival Hillary — noun New Zealand mountaineer who in 1953 first attained the summit of Mount Everest with his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay (born in 1919) • Syn: ↑Hillary, ↑Edmund Hillary, ↑Sir Edmund Hillary • Instance Hypernyms: ↑mountaineer, ↑mountain climber …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sir Edmund Hillary — Edmund Hillary in Warschau, 17. Juni 2004 Edmund Hillary 1957 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate — Infobox NZ school name = Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate badge = motto = Towards Far Horizons type = State co ed secondary (Year 9 15), intermediate and contributing established = address = 2 Franklyne Road, Otara principal = associate principal =… …   Wikipedia

  • Edmund Percival Hillary — Edmund Hillary Sir Edmund Percival Hillary Edmund Hillary à Varsovie, 2004 Naissance 20  …   Wikipédia en Français

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