Top Of The World Ma! - Edmund Hillary Makes His Last Ascent

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by jason_els, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Edmund Hillary, the first man to stand atop Mount Everest, died today.

    May 29, 1953, Hillary and sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest. Hillary first, Norgay soon after:

    Another few weary steps and there was nothing above us but the sky. There was no false cornice, no final pinnacle. We were standing together on the summit. There was enough space for about six people. We had conquered Everest. Awe, wonder, humility, pride, exaltation -- these surely ought to be the confused emotions of the first men to stand on the highest peak on Earth, after so many others had failed. But my dominant reactions were relief and surprise. Relief because the long grind was over and the unattainable had been attained. And surprise, because it had happened to me, old Ed Hillary, the beekeeper, once the star pupil of the Tuakau District School, but no great shakes at Auckland Grammar (high school) and a no-hoper at university, first to the top of Everest. I just didn't believe it.

    I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it.
    I feel we've lost something, the last of the great explorers of earth. We learn about Henry the Navigator, Francis Drake, Balboa, Amundsen, Armstrong, Lindbergh. These men and women went forth into the unknown of the world to do what no one else did just because they could. There's a romance to exploring new worlds, climbing high mountains, descending to the depths, sailing off the edge of the earth, and Hillary was the last to claim a terrestrial first. From now on we're left to space. All the mountains have been climbed, the deepest ocean trench seen by human eyes, the source of the Nile found. How mundane earth will be without men like Hillary.
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer." -Plutarch[/FONT]
     
  2. Skull Mason

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    Well said jason. One could only imagine the feeling he must have had stepping foot atop Everest. Must have been very similar to Armstrong on the moon. And better than columbus setting foot in "America", because Hillary was indeed the first human to take steps on top of the world. An alien world, he broke through boundaries where it was believed no man could exist. It has been my lifelong dream to climb Mt. Everest. It rarely saddens me this much when someone dies I do not know, but he was one of the last true explorers of this earth.
     
  3. SpeedoGuy

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    Damn. That's a shame. He was an inspiration, Everest and afterwards.

    I recall reading about Hillary's and Tenzing Norgay's dramatic and gutsy first ascent of Everest in National Geographic. The story was the stuff my boyhood daydreams were made of. Even more memorable, their summit triumph nearly exactly co-incided with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

    Later in life, Hillary's work improving the lot of Sherpa communities was every bit as inspirational.

    Rest well, Sir Edmund.
     
  4. Quite Irate

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    You know, it's kind of a pity that his legacy will end up involving the complete commercialization of mountaineering, especially in regards to Everest.
     
  5. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Yeah. He really wanted to be remembered for all the work he did in Nepal constructing schools and hospitals in rural areas. Hillary was quite the philanthropist and he used his fame to make a positive impact on the country.
     
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