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.

George Mallory: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about George Mallory, the famous English mountaineer.

  • George Herbert Leigh Mallory was born on 18th June 1886 in Mobberley, Cheshire.
  • He first started to become interested in rock climbing during his last year at Winchester College.

  • He studied history at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and he was a keen sportsman. He rowed for his college at Cambridge.
  • Mallory was good friends with the poet Robert Graves.
  • He married to Ruth Turner in 1914 (just before the outbreak of WW1) and they had two daughters and son.
  • George Mallory fought in World War 1 as part of the Royal Garrison Artillery.
  • Mallory climbed Mont Blanc in 1911 and in 1913 he climbed Pillar Rock in the Lake District.

George Mallory

  • In 1921 Mallory was part of an expedition to explore routes up to the Mount Everest‘s North Col (a pass formed by a glacier). In 1922 Mallory, Howard Somervell and Edward Norton reached the crest of the North-East Ridge of Mount Everest (a height of more than 8,000 ft). They didn’t use any bottled oxygen.
  • In June 1924, Mallory attempted to climb Mount Everest again. On 8th June, Noel Odell, another member of the expedition, saw George Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, for the last time. They were climbing a rock step high on the mountainside. They never returned home and it thought that they died late on 8th June or early on 9th June. It is not known whether or not they reached the summit of Mount Everest before they died.
  • Following several attempts, Mallory’s body was finally discovered in 1999 by Conrad Anker. It was very well preserved and it revealed that he had probably died from a puncture wound to the head (possibly caused by his own ice axe). Although the location of their final campsite has been located, the body of Mallory’s climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, has yet to be found.
  • Two peaks – Mount Mallory and Mount Irvine – in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California were named in honour of the two climbers.

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