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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2611

Sir Edmund Hillary First to Climb Mount Everest Heard Radio Ceylon (Commercial) Overseas Beam

By Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

Edmund Hillary will be remembered for his feat in climbing Mount Everest along with his Sherpa guide Tensing Norgay: first two human beings to reach Earth's highest point in the Himalayas, on 29 May 1953. Soon after climbing Everest he was reported to have listened to the overseas channel of Radio Ceylon broadcast, perhaps the only English broadcast reaching that altitude. Hillary was knighted for climbing Everest and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark called him the “best known New Zealander to ever live.” New Zealand’s five pound note carries the face of Sri Hillary.Sir Edmund Hillary in Chicago with the sculpture "THE SUMMIT"  after being shown the finished art for the first time, November 2000.Sir Edmund Hillary in Chicago with the sculpture "THE SUMMIT" after being shown the finished art for the first time, November 2000.

Sri Hillary also led expeditions to the South Pole and to the source of the Yangtze River. He was well known for his humanitarian work among the Sherpas through his charity, the Himalayan Trust. Hillary died of heart failure last week, and had been in poor health since suffering a fall while visiting Nepal in April of 2007. He published his Everest memoir High Adventure (1955) and Nothing Venture, Nothing Win (1975, his autobiography.

Sir Hillary was a bee keeper prior to his mountain climbing exploits. His father Percival was a journalist but decided to be a bee keeper and very successful professional beekeeper. His sons joined Percival in the family business. After becoming the first man to conquer Mount Everest, Edmund Hillary said good bye to beekeeping. He became an ardent advocate of the Sherpas, the people of his Everest climbing partner Tensing Norgay.

The Sherpas are resident of the Tibetan mountainous region. In Tibetan shapes means Eastern people from the two Tibetan words sha or East and pa the suffix meaning 'people” Sharpas or Sherpas moved from eastern Tibet to Nepal within the last 500 years. A female Sherpa is known as a "sherpani” The term, “Sherpa' is also used to describe guides or porters in the Himalayan region. They are valued as great climbers with expert skills who were very familiar with the Himalayan terrain. They are very well acclimatized to the high mountain environment, hence their popularity as partners in the quest to reach unassailable mountain tops.

- Asian Tribune -

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