Sir Edmund Hillary: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Edmund Hillary, the famous mountaineer.

  • Edmund Hillary was a New Zealand-born mountaineer. He is famous for being the first person to climb the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest – located on the Nepal / Tibet border.

  • Hillary was born in 1919, and, after leaving university, he became a beekeeper. As a boy he was shy and liked to read and daydream about having exciting adventures.
  • In 1939, he completed his first major climb to the top of Mount Cook in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. At 3,754 metres it is the country’s highest mountain.

Edmund Hillary

  • Hillary’s 1953 expedition to Everest was a huge undertaking. The team consisted of 362 porters, 20 local guides and about 4,535 kg of baggage and equipment.
  • Along with Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa, Hillary reached the summit of Everest during his second expedition there, on May 28, 1953. News reached Britain on the same day as the Queen’s coronation.
  • In 1953, he became a Knight of the British Empire and was known as Sir Edmund Hillary. He found this out from a messenger while leaving Everest, after his successful climb.
  • In 1958, Edmund Hillary reached the South Pole, as one of the leaders of a Commonwealth expedition. It was the first successful attempt to reach the pole in motor vehicles.
  • Hillary led another expedition to the Himalaya Mountains in 1960 to search for the legendary yeti. That same year, he was late for a flight which later crashed, killing all on board.
  • Edmund Hillary was the first living New Zealander to appear on that country’s currency. The 5 dollar note showed him along with a tractor of the type he used to reach the South Pole.
  • The ‘Hillary Trail’, a hiking trail near Auckland, is named after him, as is a difficult section of Everest, which is called the Hillary Step. In 2008, Lukla Airport in Nepal was named Tenzing-Hillary Airport.

What next? Learn about George Mallory, another mountaineer who attempted to climb Mount Everest, or visit out mountains resources page.

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