Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was born in 1919 at Auckland, in New Zealand. During his youth he was shy and hid himself behind his books and his dreams of adventure. He began to be interested in climbing when he was 16 during a school trip to Mount Ruapehu which is located in New Zealand.

In 1939 he achieved his first big climb when reaching the top of Mount Ollivier, in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. At the beginning of the Second World War he joined the air force and in 1943 he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as a navigator.
In 1951 he became a member of the British reconnaissance expedition which had as purpose the climbing of Mount Everest. In 1953 he finally reached the top of Mount Everest with Hunt as leader and 399 other people.

They climbed via the Nepal-side and set their first camp in March 1953 and their final camp a few days before reaching the summit. When they set the final camp the climbers had to reach the summit within two or three days otherwise bad weather could force them to descend. The group in which Edmund Hillary took part succeeded in reaching the summit of Mount Everest on 28th May. They spent only 15 minutes on the summit.

Hillary became more and more popular and was made Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1953, he also became a member of the Order of New Zealand in 1987 and a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1995. He also received the Polar Medal due to his participation in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Nowadays there are also schools, streets and organisations in New Zealand which have taken his name. For example: Hillary College in Otara and Edmund Hillary Primary School in Papakura.

In 1992 Hillary was such an icon for New Zealand that he appeared on the $5 note; thus making him the first New Zealander to appear on a bank note during his life. This is of course against the traditional conventions which normally used portraits of dead icons. In 2003, he became an honorary citizen in Nepal for the 50th anniversary of the climbing of Mount Everest. He was the first foreigner to receive this honorary citizenship. The same year, a statue of Sir Edmund Hillary was erected at Mt Cook village, in New Zealand. He died in January 2008.
Charlotte and Aurora


PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Read my epic poem on Sir Edmund Hillary entitled " Tuakau Honey Jar First to Ever Rest". Here is the link


nepalwriter said...

I had the privilege of meeting Sir Edmund Hillary twice, once in Colorado and once in Namche in the Everest region where I used to lead treks to the base camp. He dedicated his life to helping the Sherpas who were such a critical part of his first ascent. Beyond the Summit is the first work to dramatize their lives in fiction. Hillary's work in the area is mentioned frequently as well as his climbing partner, Tenzing Norgay.
Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to

Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
Richard Blake for Readers Views.

A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest.

A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there.

This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
– John (college professor)

Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialogue. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

Available through Barnes and Noble, Borders,,, and the web site