Associated Press - 01/10/2007
"WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Sir Edmund Hillary, the unassuming beekeeper who conquered Mount Everest and was the first man to drive a tractor across Antarctica to win renown as one of the 20th century's greatest adventurers, has died, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced Friday. He was 88.
His 1953 climb of Everest with Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay made him an international hero. Norgay died in 1986.
The gangling New Zealander devoted much of his life to aiding the mountain people of Nepal and took his fame in stride, preferring to be called "Ed" and considering himself just an ordinary beekeeper.Hillary's life was marked by grand achievements, high adventure, discovery, excitement — and by his personal humility. Humble to the point that he only admitted being the first man atop Everest long after the death of climbing companion Norgay."
What made Hillary's ascent remarkable, is that even today's climbers face a 25% chance of not returning from Everest. More than fifty years later, it still requires a tremendous amount of preparation, inspiration, and sheer guts to summit Chomolungma (Tibetan for Mother Goddess of the Earth). More importantly, I think Sir Edmund taught us that us nothing is impossible and that we should Dare to Dream our hopes into reality.
In this new Century, where else will humankind step foot? What other distant shores reached by dreamlit wings, and plateaus met with halcyon skies, will we visit and perhaps someday, call home?