Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Left Masthead
July 24, 2016
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

American Amnesia
Neither Snow Nor Rain

Truthdig Bazaar
The Evolution of God

The Evolution of God

By Robert Wright

more items

Ear to the Ground
Print this item

Everest Legend Hillary Dies

Posted on Jan 10, 2008
Norgay and Hillary

Hillary, right, poses with Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa who accompanied him to the top of the world.

Sir Edmund Hillary is dead at 88 after suffering a fall. Famous for being the first climber, along with Tenzing Norgay, to reach the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, Hillary was also a champion of the Nepalese Sherpas who helped him get there and over the years he built schools and clinics for them.


Returning to Everest base camp, he famously greeted another member of the British expedition group with the words: “Well, George, we’ve knocked the bastard off.”

After the ascent, Sir Edmund led a number of expeditions to the South Pole and devoted his life to helping the Sherpas of Nepal’s Khumbu region.

His Himalayan Trust has helped build hospitals, clinics, bridges, airstrips and nearly 30 schools. He was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003.

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By Douglas Chalmers, January 12, 2008 at 1:04 am Link to this comment

By Kiwi, January 11: ”...he’s worshipped you know. as a God among the Sherpas. Jamlling Tensing -son of Tenzing Norgay ....We think of him as a living God…”

Interesting - do you have a link for your quotes, Kiwi? As I understand it, the Nepalese are Hindu - so they can always accomodate an extra god, especially a good one. In the meantime

We hope that one day the other Hillary here will turn out to be a benevolent deity, too. Then again, the USA could just as likely end up with another wrathful deity in the form of a black god with a funny-looking ring.

Until recently, I believe that Nepal had a god-king. Now they are trying democracy. What a pity that Americans have given up democracy for a kind of pantheon of demi-gods themselves, uhh. There was a series called Dynasty…..

Oh, well, being serious now, Edmund Hillary was a bee-keeper before he conquered mountains. As you know, that doesn’t require a lot of formal education. Strange isn’t it, then, that he became such a giant of a man even among the vain and conceited class-conscious elites both in NZ and in Britain and elsewhere.

That tells us something about the quality of the inner man and, as you say, how to step onto the path to become like him. I’ve known people like him and they don’t think very much of titles and the bits of metal that go with them - nor the people who hand them out. “Sir” would be rather a joke to him, in reality.

After all, it is the effort that one puts into achieving the impossible against insurmountable odds that maketh the man, not what some pompous moneybag says about you - or anyone else for that matter. Presidential candidates in the US can only emulate him too.

One has the qualifications and experience as well as the years of adversity to place her in a most excellent position to reach her summit (her name is Hillary, too). The others can only pretend to be as well-versed and prepared for the achievement of a lifetime.

Report this

By purplewolf, January 11, 2008 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

When the title for this article started to show on my ancient dial-up connections, only the line “Hillary Dies,” appeared even though I knew it wasn’t “The Shrill with no Thrill” I thought, IF ONLY!

I know how you feel Cyrena.

Report this

By Kiwi, January 11, 2008 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

Sir Edmund, he’s worshipped you know. as a God among the Sherpas. Jamlling Tensing -son of Tenzing Norgay

A friend? I dont know In your terms, yes you could call him a friend but we dont think of him like that. If he were a normal person I would call him a friend but he is not. We think of him as a living God. -Sherpa Lhapka Sonam who helped save Hillary’s life

My life has been a constant effort to illustrate how a very mediocre person with very mediocre talents, which I have, can acheive a lot if they really drive themselves - Sir Edmund Hillary

Report this

By cyrena, January 11, 2008 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

At first I only saw the second line of the title..Hillary Dies.

I guess it’s because my main pair of glasses are in the shop.

Not to worry, I did figure it out.

Report this

By gradioc, January 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

It’s hard to explain the admiration I feel for Sir Edmund Hillary. I was not alive when he and Tenzig did what many thought impossible. The very fact that I have no problem recalling Tenzig Norgay’s name says volumes about the man. As far as he was concerned 2 men conquered Everest. It never mattered to him or Tenzig who was in front when they got there. Please think about how many Europeans (by which I mean whites from wherever) would have made absolutely sure, as Hillary did, that his native partner was known as an equal partner. Tenzig was not a helper to the great man, but a great man in his own right, and Hillary made damn sure all the press covered it that way. Some posters here would like to believe that Ed in some way slighted Tenzig Norgay, but that is the farthest thing from the truth. If class could be sold Sir Edmund Hillary would have been the Saudi Arabia of the trade.

Report this

By Douglas Chalmers, January 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

By Daniel Martin, January 11: “As a New Zealander I’d like to say to Douglas Chalmers: I’m “odiously pretentious”? Moi?”

Exactly what I meant, Daniel Martin. I was recounting a story about Edmund Hillary as I knew him and in commemoration of him personally. I don’t know why you needed to lecture back to me.

You’ve just proven your stupid Kiwi pretentiousness. Who said he died of a fall? It was said in the BBC article that “he suffered a fall while visiting Nepal”. You can’t read either? Neither do I understand why you whined about the picture…..

But the Telegraph in Britain also went on a colonialist spree indulging itself in the the conquest of Everest as a coronation present for the British queen. They are still obsessed with self-righteous delusions of empire

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, January 11, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

“Only after Sherpa Tensing died did Sir Ed. said he (Hillary) was first.”

On the other side of the coin——what did Tensing Norgay say?  But in any event, it’s all romantic lore now.

Report this

By Thomas Billis, January 11, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

I was touched by the stories of the lonely nights that Tenzig and Sir Hillary spent together in their quest to climb Everest.When he died Sir Hillary was working on his memoirs of those nights titled"We Broke The Back Of That Mountain”

Report this

By Daniel Martin, January 11, 2008 at 5:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a New Zealander I’d like to say to Douglas Chalmers: I’m “odiously pretentious”? Moi?

Glad you’re clued in to really what a “quintissential kiwi” “was”. Modest, unassumng - people of few words. Do-ers not talkers.

I’ll have to have a look through your 1700+ posts to so I can rediscover what brevity and unpretentious humility are all about. Thanks in advance.

Hillary was one of the most famous people in the world - the Neil Armstrong of his generation - an an incredible adventurer and a dedicated philanthropist. Despite this he was amazingly humble and respectful to everyone who approached him. He was was a hero to New Zealanders and his courage and egalitarianism is at the very heart of our identity.

His death is a profound loss, but sorry you didn’t like the “awful pic”.

P.s he died of a heart attack in hospital not “a fall”. See below:

Report this

By Kiwi, January 11, 2008 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

Only after Sherpa Tensing died did Sir Ed. said he (Hillary) was first

Report this

By Douglas Chalmers, January 11, 2008 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

Despite the awful pic, Hillary (I quote that name a lot on Truthdig lately, ha ha) was a nice guy, tall with a pleasant face and a friendly smile. He was a casual dresser, quietly spoken, not formal in any way and so easily approachable.

I met him in a mountaineering/camping supplies shop decades ago. I eventually discovered who he was but he never bothered to mention his name although we had the most enjoyable impromptu conversation. A genuine guy with no ego up front, not even macho.

New Zealanders might well be proud of him. He was a better person than most of them, odiously pretentious as they now are. In fact, they have lost the “quintessential Kiwi” he undoubtedly was.

Report this

By Sylvia Carter, January 10, 2008 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sir Edmund also did much in New Zealand for young people. Among his activities he was deeply involved with the Outdoor Pursiut Centre for young people A school trip there was my first experience of climbing and skiing He gave us the most inspirational talk. My overwhelming impression of him was over the years his modesty and humility, He was a REAL Hero

Report this

By RV Kennedy, January 10, 2008 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t believe Hillary ever claimed to be the first, or specified whether he or Tensing was first to the summit, correct me if I’m wrong.

Report this
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

Like Truthdig on Facebook