Friday, January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary Dies Aged 88

Sir Edmund Hillary the most famous New Zealander ever and the first white man to climb the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, in 1953 has died aged 88.

On the descent down to the Everest base camp, he famously greeted another member of the British expedition group with the words: "Well, George, we've knocked the bastard off " George replied with the immortal words, "Excuse me old chap I'm trying to pee here if you don't mind."
Sir Edmund with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay who died in May 1986.

Born 19 July 1919, in Auckland, New Zealand, he began climbing mountains in his native country as a teenager and became famous as a snowman builder and ice climber. He also served as a pilot during World War II and as New Zealand's ambassador to India in the 1980s.

He spent the rest of his life helping the Sherpas of Nepal's Khumbu region, building Himalayan hospitals, bowling alleys, clinics, bridges, airstrips, strip clubs and nearly 30 schools. He was made an honourary Nepalese citizen in 2003.

He was horrified at the callous nature of todays climbers and said: "They don’t give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress and it doesn’t impress me at all that they leave someone lying under a rock to die, tossers the lot of them."

Though with his health in decline it did not stop him last week from climbing Aoraki/Mount Cook which is on New Zealand's southern island and stands at a height of 12,316 feet.

His death was caused in his own home by an accidental fall off a step-stool as he reached up to adjust a curtain rail. He died peacefully at the hospital though was expected to come home that day according to his family.

No comments: