Thursday, January 10, 2008

Passing Of The Man Who Paved The Way

Certain historical adventurers will always remain on the upper tier of those that embody the true essence of world seekers...

Ernest Shackleton , Reinhold Messner, Leif Erickson, Robert E. Peary, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are some of my favorites, simply based on the level of commitment that each of them took to achieve their objective.

However, the man that I have the most sentimental connection to is the legendary Sir Edmund Hillary who passed away today at the age of 88.

I met Sir Hillary in New Zealand a few years ago. Once I overcame my initial nervous, star struck sensation, I found Sir Hillary to be exceptionally congenial and downright sweet. He signed the New Zealand $5 note which bears his image and upon returning home I had my new autographed Kiwi dollar bill framed and hung with pride on my office wall.

The man who shared the Everest summit with Sir Hillary, Tenzing Norgay passed away in 1986.

As the two of them approached the summit of Everest they encountered a rocky buttress a mere 20 minutes from the top. This would prove to be a crucial move of the last part of the ascent, the 40-foot (12 m) rock face later named the "Hillary Step". Hillary saw a means to wedge his way up a crack in the face between the rock wall and ice, and Tenzing followed.
The remarkable thing about this section is when the expedition ws studying all of the reconnaissance photos prior to the ascent, no one had seen this formidable obstacle. I feel that this section would have turned around a lesser couple of men. Instead, these guys just fired up it. I thought of him as I was flailing myself that same section of rock.

They reached the summit at 11:30 am. As Hillary put it, "A few more whacks of the ice axe in the firm snow, and we stood on top." They spent only about 15 minutes at the summit and forged the way for the rest of us for generations.

A legend.
7/20/19 - 1/11/08