Sir Edmund Hillary (20th July, 1919 – 11th January, 2008) was a mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist from Auckland, New Zealand. Hillary went on many adventures but is probably best known for his ascent of Mount Everest in 1953, when he and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.
Before this Hillary ascended the south ridge of Aoraki, New Zealand’s highest peak in 1948, in 1951 he was part of a British reconnaissance expedition to Mount Everest, two years before his successful ascent. After his Everest climb he climbed ten other peaks in the Himalayas on further visits in 1956, 1960, and 1963-65. In 1958 he successfully reached the South Pole, the first to do so since 1911 and the first ever using motor vehicles.
Later in his life he continued exploring, right up to 2007 when he visited the Antarctic again, he received a knighthood from the Queen, and even went in search of the abominable snowman.
All of these adventures gave him plenty of stories to tell, and this is reflected in the many books he authored. Today we’re recommending some of these books, guaranteed to fuel your sense of adventure!
High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest
But in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stared into the dark eye of Mount Everest and did not waver. On May 29, they pushed spent bodies and aching lungs past the achievable to pursue the impossible. At a terminal altitude of 29,028 feet, they stood triumphant atop the highest peak in the world. This is Sir Edmund Hillary’s account of that astonishing feat.
From the Ocean to the Sky
In 1977, Sir Edmund Hillary realised a dream when he took an expedition ‘to travel with a group of friends from the mouth of the Ganges River upstream against the current as far as we could go…up into the mountains where the river had its beginnings.’ This is the story of that adventure.
Schoolhouse in the Clouds
Sir Edmund Hillary was not only an adventurer but a philanthropist too, and in 1963 fulfilled a promise to repay the Sherpas with schools, water systems and medical aid, for the loyal and courageous service they have rendered to many mountaineering expeditions over the years – and to do a bit of climbing. This is that dramatic and often amusing story.
The Crossing of Antarctica
Vivian Fuchs (1908-1999) and Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) led the Trans-Antarctic expedition 1955-1958. They were successful in accomplishing Shackleton’s failed Trans-Antarctic expedition in 1914. However, they did it with modern mechanized SnowCats, radio communications and resupply airdrops. This is their story, co-authored by both adventurers.