After Mount Everest, what were Edmund Hillary’s actions?

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By Kristy Tolley

Edmund Hillary’s Legacy

Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand mountaineer, cemented his place in history by becoming the first person to summit Mount Everest in 1953, alongside Tenzing Norgay. However, his legacy extends beyond this incredible achievement. After climbing the world’s highest mountain, Hillary devoted his life to philanthropy, advocacy, and exploration.

Establishing the Himalayan Trust

In 1960, Hillary established the Himalayan Trust to support the people of the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal, where Mount Everest is located. The trust’s mission was to improve education, healthcare, and basic infrastructure in the remote region. Over the years, the trust built schools, hospitals, and bridges, and provided scholarships for students. Hillary’s efforts transformed the lives of thousands of people in the area, and the trust continues to operate today.

Role in the Trans-Antarctic Expedition

In 1958, Hillary was part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which aimed to cross the continent of Antarctica via the South Pole. He led the expedition’s New Zealand section and was responsible for overseeing the construction of the base camp and the transport of supplies. Despite several setbacks, including the loss of a tractor and the death of one team member, the expedition successfully completed its mission in 1959.

Conservation Efforts in New Zealand

In addition to his work in the Himalayas and Antarctica, Hillary was also passionate about conservation in his home country of New Zealand. He served as the first director of the New Zealand Wildlife Service and helped establish a number of national parks and reserves. Hillary was particularly interested in protecting the native bird species of New Zealand, and his efforts contributed significantly to the conservation movement in the country.

Opening up the Khumbu Region

Hillary’s expeditions to Mount Everest also had a significant impact on the Khumbu region. He worked to improve trail systems and build bridges, which made the region more accessible to trekking and mountaineering. Hillary’s efforts led to an increase in tourism, which brought economic benefits to the region and helped to preserve its unique culture.

Advocating for Sherpas’ Rights

Hillary was deeply impressed by the Sherpa people of Nepal, who played a crucial role in his Mount Everest expeditions. He recognized their importance in the mountaineering industry and advocated for their rights and wellbeing. Hillary helped establish the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Fellowship, which supports young Sherpas in pursuing higher education.

The Hillary Commission for Sport, Fitness, and Leisure

In 1987, Hillary was appointed to lead the newly established Hillary Commission for Sport, Fitness, and Leisure in New Zealand. The commission aimed to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles among New Zealanders. Hillary’s leadership was instrumental in the commission’s success in improving sports and recreation facilities throughout the country.

Writing and Public Speaking

Hillary was a prolific writer and public speaker. He authored several books about his mountaineering expeditions, including "No Latitude for Error" and "High Adventure." He also gave countless speeches and lectures, inspiring audiences with his tales of adventure and his commitment to service.

Philanthropic Work

Throughout his life, Hillary continued to support charitable causes. He established the Sir Edmund Hillary Himalayan Trust Canada to raise funds for the Himalayan Trust’s projects, and he also supported organizations that focused on health, education, and the environment.

Personal Life and Family

Hillary was married to Louise Rose, and they had three children together. His family was a constant source of support throughout his many adventures and philanthropic endeavors.

Honors and Recognitions

Hillary received numerous honors and recognitions throughout his life, including being appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and awarded the Order of New Zealand. He was also named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.

Conclusion: A Life of Adventure and Service

Edmund Hillary’s legacy extends far beyond his historic achievement on Mount Everest. He dedicated his life to philanthropy, advocacy, and exploration, leaving a lasting impact on the people and places he encountered. Hillary’s commitment to service and his sense of adventure continue to inspire people around the world.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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