Mountain climbers and explorers are different from most of us, and some are driven by strange demons. Sir Edmund Hillary however stood apart. The humanitarian climber died yesterday in New Zealand.
In 1953 he and Tsering Norgay were the first mountaineers to reach the summit of Mt Everest. Hillary was 33 years old.
He was an extraordinary kind of explorer -- a diplomat who gave back to the hill people he loved.
Listen to a few words and view some footage about the great man here.
Wikipedia reviews his life and times.
Getty Conservation Prize winner Hemanta Mishra, my colleague from Nepal days, wrote last night:
"I am deeply shocked. Yes - but of course I knew him very well. Sir Ed and I worked together in creating the Sagarmatha National Park. I have fond memories of him up in the Everest area. He was instrumental in getting many of Nepal's National Park staff trained in New Zealand e.g. the Late Mingma Sherpa, Ram Prit Yadav, Lakpa Sherpa, Nima Wangchu and many others.
I met him now and then over the years. He visited our home in Kupondole and one of my most cherished photographs is of him and his wife with Alita, Pragya, and Binayak (inside Sushma's belly).
His famous saying "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" -- were words that motived me to translocate the rhinos from Chitwan to Bardia.
Though born in New Zealand - he was a Nepalese in heart and mind, and he did so much for Nepal. We will miss him very much."