Edmund Hillary

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Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008), was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. He was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Hillary became interested in mountaineering while in secondary school, making his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier. He served in the RNZAF as a navigator during World War II. Before the successful expedition in 1953 to Everest, he had been part of a reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951 and an unsuccessful attempt to climb Cho Oyu in 1952. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He would later also travel to the North Pole.

Following his ascent of Everest he devoted much of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded. Through his efforts many schools and hospitals were built in this remote region of Nepal.

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Hillary was born to Percival Augustus Hillary and Gertrude Hillary, née Clark, in Auckland, New Zealand, on 20 July 1919.[1] His family moved to Tuakau (south of Auckland) in 1920, after his father (who served at Gallipoli) was allocated land there.[2] His grandparents were early settlers in northern Wairoa in the mid-19th century after emigrating from Yorkshire, England.[3]

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