Sir Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who became known for being the first person to successfully climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. Hillary’s achievement in conquering the Everest made him a national hero and a symbol of New Zealand’s determination to succeed in the face of adversity.
Background: Mount Everest
Mount Everest is located in the Himalayas, on the border of Nepal and Tibet, and is the highest mountain in the world, with a height of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet). The mountain is known for its harsh and dangerous conditions, including extreme cold, high altitude, and unpredictable weather. The first attempt to climb Everest was made in 1921 by a British expedition, but it was not until 1953 that the mountain was successfully conquered.
Hillary had been climbing mountains since his youth, and had already gained a reputation as a skilled and daring climber by the time he was selected to be part of the British expedition to Everest in 1953. To prepare for the climb, Hillary spent several months training in the Himalayas, acclimatizing to the high altitude and testing his equipment. He also worked closely with his climbing partner, Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa guide with extensive experience in the region.
Hillary was part of a larger team of climbers and support staff, led by British mountaineer John Hunt. The team included 10 climbers, along with several Sherpas and other support staff. The team worked together to set up camps and establish a route up the mountain, with Hillary and Norgay serving as the lead climbers for the final push to the summit.
Hillary and Norgay began their ascent on May 26, 1953, starting from Camp 4 and climbing through the notorious Khumbu Icefall. They then ascended the South Col, a treacherous section of the mountain where climbers are exposed to high winds and extreme cold. From there, they continued up the Southeast Ridge to the final summit push.
Hillary and Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, becoming the first people in history to do so. They spent only 15 minutes at the summit, due to limited oxygen supplies and the need to begin their descent before nightfall. Hillary famously planted the flag of the United Kingdom at the summit, in honor of the British-led expedition.
After reaching the summit, Hillary and Norgay began their descent, returning to Camp 4 on the same day. The descent was marked by several close calls, including a fall by Hillary that was narrowly prevented by Norgay. The team continued to descend over the following days, eventually returning to base camp in early June.
Hillary’s achievement in climbing Mount Everest is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of mountaineering. It demonstrated that humans could conquer one of the most challenging environments on earth, and inspired a new generation of climbers and adventurers.
Impact on Nepal
Hillary’s ascent of Everest had a profound impact on the people of Nepal, particularly the Sherpa community. The climb brought international attention to the region, and helped to promote tourism and economic development in the area. Hillary also established the Himalayan Trust, a charitable organization that provided support for education, health, and other needs in Nepal.
Legacy of Hillary
Hillary’s legacy extends far beyond his climb of Everest. He went on to become a respected diplomat and humanitarian, working to improve the lives of people in Nepal and other developing countries. He also continued to be involved in mountaineering, leading expeditions to other peaks and promoting environmental conservation.
Conclusion: Hillary’s achievement
Sir Edmund Hillary’s climb of Mount Everest remains one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of mountaineering. His courage, determination, and skill inspired countless adventurers and explorers, and helped to redefine what was possible in the realm of human achievement. Hillary’s legacy continues to be felt around the world, as a symbol of the power of human perseverance and the importance of pursuing our dreams, no matter how daunting the challenge may be.
- "Sir Edmund Hillary." Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edmund-Hillary.
- "Mount Everest." National Geographic. Accessed August 25, 2021. .
- "Tenzing Norgay." Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Tenzing-Norgay.