Thursday, November 23, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Edmund Hillary (1919 – 2008)


New Zealand mountaineer and explorer.
Edmund Hillary
Tenzing had been waiting patiently, but now, at my request, he unfurled the flags wrapped around his ice–ax and standing at the summit, held them above his head. Clad in all his bulky equipment and with the flags flapping furiously in the wind, he made a dramatic picture, and the thought drifted through my mind that this photograph should be a good one if it came out at all. I didn't worry about getting Tenzing to take a photograph of me — as far as I knew, he had never taken a photograph before, and the summit of Everest was hardly the place to show him how.
Hillary quotes
People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.
Hillary
Well, we knocked the bastard off!




Hillary Edmund quotes
The real point of mountain climbing, as of most hard sports, is that it voluntarily tests the human spirit against the fiercest odds, not that it achieves anything more substantial — or even wins the contest, for that matter. For the most part, its heroism is of a subjective kind. It was the fate of Hillary and Tenzing, though, to become very public heroes indeed, and it was a measure of the men that over the years they truly grew into the condition. Perhaps they thought that just being the first to climb a hill was hardly qualification for immortality; perhaps they instinctively realized destiny had another place for them. For they both became, in the course of time, representatives not merely of their particular nations but of half of humanity. Astronauts might justly claim that they were envoys of all humanity; Hillary and Tenzing, in a less spectacular kind, came to stand for the small nations of the world, the young ones, the tucked-away and the up-and-coming.
Hillary Edmund
I was just an enthusiastic mountaineer of modest abilities who was willing to work quite hard and had the necessary imagination and determination. I was just an average bloke; it was the media that transformed me into a heroic figure. And try as I did, there was no way to destroy my heroic image. But as I learned through the years, as long as you didn’t believe all that rubbish about yourself, you wouldn’t come to much harm.
Edmund Hillary quotes
In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed.
Edmund Hillary
You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals. The intense effort, the giving of everything you've got, is a very pleasant bonus.
Hillary Edmund quotes
I don't know if I particularly want to be remembered for anything. I have enjoyed great satisfaction from my climb of Everest and my trips to the poles. But there's no doubt, either, that my most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and medical clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain.
Hillary
While standing on top of Everest, I looked across the valley, towards the other 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 for me, by any means. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges.
Hillary Edmund
Reaching the summit of a mountain gives great satisfaction, but nothing for me has been more rewarding in life than the result of our climb on Everest, when we have devoted ourselves to the welfare of our Sherpa friends.
Edmund Hillary
The beekeeper and the Sherpa, one from a remote former colony of the Crown on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the other from the edge of the heavens. They affirmed the power of humble determination and, placing themselves firmly with the mythic paradigms of their respective cultures, won one for the underdogs. ... On this lonely planet of freeze dried food, computer generated fabrics and commercialised mountain climbing, it is almost impossible to imagine the earth-shaking impact that Hillary and Norgay’s achievement had in 1953. For many it represented the last of the earth’s great challenges. It placed Hillary in the lineage of great terrestrial explorers. ... His achievement as one of mankind’s great accomplishments came at one of the last times in history when such a feat could still be recognised as a distinctly human one, and not technological. ... Hillary’s near-mythical status puts him on a plateau above sporting heroes, for he has distinguished himself well beyond the singularity of a mountain. From a feat that would have been the crowning achievement of many careers, he has gone on to become a humanitarian, an ambassador and elder statesman, never giving up, never giving in to either despair or complacency, always planning the next goal.




Edmund Hillary quotes
Better if he had said something natural like, "Jesus, here we are."
Edmund Hillary
On my expedition there was no way that you would have left a man under a rock to die. It simply would not have happened. It would have been a disaster from our point of view. There have been a number of occasions when people have been neglected and left to die and I don’t regard this as a correct philosophy. I am absolutely certain that if any member of our expedition all those years ago had been in that situation we would have made every effort.
Hillary quotes
The explorers of the past were great men and we should honour them. But let us not forget that their spirit lives on. It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, not for what he may find.
Hillary Edmund
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
Hillary Edmund quotes
Geography was not furthered by the achievement, scientific progress was scarcely hastened, and nothing new was discovered. Yet the names of Hillary and Tenzing went instantly into all languages as the names of heroes, partly because they really were men of heroic mold but chiefly because they represented so compellingly the spirit of their time.
Edmund Hillary
I liked these men very much when I first met them on the mountain nearly a half-century ago, but I came to admire them far more in the years that followed. I thought their brand of heroism — the heroism of example, the heroism of debts repaid and causes sustained — far more inspiring than the gung-ho kind. Did it really mean much to the human race when Everest was conquered for the first time? Only because there became attached to the memory of the exploit, in the years that followed, a reputation for decency, kindness and stylish simplicity. Hillary and Tenzing fixed it when they knocked the bastard off.
Edmund Hillary quotes
I’ve always hated the danger part of climbing, and it’s great to come down again because it’s safe ... But 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.
Edmund Hillary
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.
Hillary Edmund
My solar plexus was tight with fear as I ploughed on. Halfway up I stopped, exhausted. I could look down 10,000 feet between my legs, and I have never felt more insecure. Anxiously I waved Tenzing up to me.


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