Edmund Hillary (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008)
Sir Edmund Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. When he as 33 yars of age he reached the “pinnacle of the world”. He reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain – Mt.Everest. He was the first known person to ever achieve this feat.
As a child Edmund Hillary only achieved average marks and he was smaller than most boys his own age. He sought refuge in his books and daydreams.
In 1953 he attempted to climb Mt. Everest as part of a group of 400 people. Hillary was forced to wait and watch as two men from his team attempted to reach the summit. After one of the men ran out of oxygen they had to give up just 300m short of the summit.
After a 2 day blizzard, Hillary and his Sherpa partner were next up to try. The first morning of their climb Hillary awoke to find his boots completely frozen, he lost two hours of his limited time to thawing out his boots. The Sherpa and Hillary once again started climbing, carrying their 30lb packs.
They reached the summit without any more serious events. They found nothing indicating that the Mallory expedition of 1924 was successful. They took pictures of their amazing ascent and returned to their base camp with much fanfare.
Hillary reached 10 more peaks in the Himalayas. After his climbing days were over he dedicated most of his remaining time to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded. Through his efforts many schools and hospitals were built in this remote region of Nepal.
Can you name the gentlemen who attempted the climb just before Hillary? Don’t be surprised if you can’t – it is amazing what a difference 300m can make.