|Sir Edmund Hillary
KG ONZ KBE
Hillary, c. 1953
|Born||Edmund Percival Hillary
20 July 1919
Auckland, New Zealand
|Died||11 January 2008
Auckland, New Zealand
|Spouse(s)||Louise Mary Rose (1953â€“1975); her death
June Mulgrew (1989â€“2008); his death
|Children||Peter (b. 1954)
Sarah (b. 1956)
|Parent(s)||Percival Augustus Hillary
Gertrude Hillary, nÃ©e Clark
|Awards||Knight of the Order of the Garter
Member of the Order of New Zealand
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
The Sherpas play a very important role in most mountaineering expeditions, and in fact many of them lead along the ridges and up to the summit.
If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go.
I don't spend a lot of time thinking about dying, but I like to think that I've – if it did occur – that I would die peacefully and not make too much of a fuss about it.
I don't know if I particularly want to be remembered for anything. I personally do not think I'm a great gift to the world. I've been very fortunate.
On the summit of Everest, I had a feeling of great satisfaction to be first there.
I am a lucky man. I have had a dream and it has come true, and that is not a thing that happens often to men.
Good planning is important. I've also regarded a sense of humor as one of the most important things on a big expedition. When you're in a difficult or dangerous situation, or when you're depressed about the chances of success, someone who can make you laugh eases the tension.
I think I mainly climb mountains because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I never attempt to analyze these things too thoroughly, but I think that all mountaineers do get a great deal of satisfaction out of overcoming some challenge which they think is very difficult for them, or which perhaps may be a little dangerous.
I'm sure the feeling of fear, as long as you can take advantage of it and not be rendered useless by it, can make you extend yourself beyond what you would regard as your capacity. If you're afraid, the blood seems to flow freely through the veins, and you really do feel a sense of stimulation.
I think my first thought on reaching the summit- of course, I was very, very pleased to be there, naturally – but my first thought was one of a little bit of surprise. I was a little bit surprised that here I was, Ed Hillary, on top of Mt. Everest. After all, this is the ambition of most mountaineers.
I can remember when I first went into the Himalayan area way back in 1951. Money, for instance, was not important at all to the local people. But now, finance has become just as important to them as it is to us, and this is a change maybe not for the better.
When I was climbing, I built up a close relationship with the Sherpa people.
I enjoyed climbing with other people, good friends, but I did quite a lot of solo climbing, too.
The truth is, I'm just a rough old New Zealander who has enjoyed many challenges in his life.
While on top of Everest, I looked across the valley towards the great peak Makalu and mentally worked out a route about how it could be climbed. It showed me that even though I was standing on top of the world, it wasn't the end of everything. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges.
When I was 50 years old, I actually decided to draw up a list of half a dozen things that I really hadn't done very well, and I was going to make efforts to improve. One of them was skiing, and I really did become a very much better skier.
I think Himalayan climbers tend to mature fairly late. I think most of the successful Himalayan climbers have ranged from 28 to just over 40, really.
I have enjoyed great satisfaction from my climb of Everest and my trips to the poles. But there's no doubt that my most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and medical clinics.
People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.
I like to think of Everest as a great mountaineering challenge, and when you've got people just streaming up the mountain – well, many of them are just climbing it to get their name in the paper, really.
Even when you're 50, you can make the effort to improve your standards.
I was scared many times on Everest, but this is all part of the challenge. When I fell down a crevasse, it was pretty scary.
Adventuring can be for the ordinary person with ordinary qualities, such as I regard myself.
Many people have been getting too casual about climbing Everest. I forecast a disaster many times.
I think the really good mountaineer is the man with the technical ability of the professional and with the enthusiasm and freshness of approach of the amateur.
There is something about building up a comradeship – that I still believe is the greatest of all feats – and sharing in the dangers with your company of peers. It's the intense effort, the giving of everything you've got. It's really a very pleasant sensation.
I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it.
Once I've decided to do something, I do usually try to carry it through to fruition.
I really haven't liked the commercialization of mountaineering, particularly of Mt. Everest. By paying $65,000, you can be conducted to the summit by a couple of good guides.
I was extremely lucky that I had two great wives. It sounds a bit funny to say that, but it's absolutely true.
I don't regard myself as a cracking good climber. I'm just strong in the back. I have a lot of enthusiasm, and I'm good on ice.
My most important projects have been the building and maintaining of schools and medical clinics for my dear friends in the Himalaya and helping restore their beautiful monasteries, too.
My relationship with the mountains actually started when I was 16. Every year, a group used to be taken from Auckland Grammar down to the Tangariro National Park for a skiing holiday.
Despite all I have seen and experienced, I still get the same simple thrill out of glimpsing a tiny patch of snow in a high mountain gully and feel the same urge to climb towards it.
My mother was a schoolteacher and very keen that I go to a city school, so although it was fairly impoverished times, I traveled every day to the Auckland Grammar School.
Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain.
Becoming a 'Sir' is slightly uncomfortable at first, although it is a considerable honor. It is amazing how quickly you become accustomed to it.
I am inclined to think that the realm of mythology is where the Yeti rightly belongs.
I believe that of all the things I have done, exciting though many of them have been, there's no doubt in my mind that the most worthwhile have been the establishing of schools and hospitals, and the rebuilding of monasteries in the mountains.
Ever since the morning of May 29, 1953, when Tenzing Norgay and I became the first climbers to step onto the summit of Mount Everest, I've been called a great adventurer.
Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.
Tourism is a very big economic benefit to the Sherpa people, and also, they have very strong ties to their own social attitudes and their own religion, so fortunately, they're not too influenced by many of our Western attitudes.
When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them.
I hate being called an 'icon.' I just don't like it. That's all there is to it.
I realised a little bit to my astonishment that I can give a lecture for a thousand people, and there will be this tumultuous applause, so, you know, I have the feeling well, it can't be all that bad.
Take advantage of the years of pioneering efforts. You might find this boring, as the young want to rush head on, as it were.
If I wished to do something, even if I couldn't find anyone who wanted to make the effort with me, I would go out solo climbing. I did find solo climbing very challenging and a little frightening. You knew that you were completely on your own, and you had to overcome all the problems and possible dangers.
I've always hated the danger part of climbing, and it's great to come down again because it's safe.