Today marks the 11th death anniversary of mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary. On this day of 2008, he left his last breath in the Auckland City Hospital. He was 88 years old at the time of his death. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of the Mount Everest.
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was born on July 20, 1919, to Percival Augustus and Gertrude Hillary in Auckland, New Zealand. Hillary studied at Tuakau Primary School and then Auckland Grammar School.
At the age of sixteen, he was encouraged to mountaineering while traveling to Mount Ruapehu from the school. From then on, the teenager Hilary began to dream of winning the peak of the mountain. At the end of the college, he took a bachelor`s degree in mathematics from the University of Auckland.
In order to earn a livelihood, Hillary became an apiarist (beekeeper) with his father and brother Rex. Collecting honey from fierce hilly forests became his addiction. He used to save money working in Summer to support his mountaineering passion. That time the World War II started and he joined the war as a Navigator of Royal New Zealand Air Force.
At about the same time in 1952, during the Alps expedition, Hillary got the invitation of Joint Himalayan Committee in their Everest Expedition. First, the team was led by British Explorer Eric Shipton but later William Hunt was appointed to lead the group. Because of this Hillary withdraws his name from the group. But later Shipton and Hunt jointly convinced him. Hillary with the help of Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay managed to ascend in the peak on 29 May 1953.
Conquest of Mount Everest was not the last and only achievement of Hillary. He was a born explorer. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, he reached the South Pole in 1958. Later, when he reached the North Pole, he became the world`s first person to reach the two poles and highest peaks in the world.
Hillary spent most of his life in the development of the life of Nepalese Sherpas. He established an organization named Himalayan Trust and established schools and hospitals there.