Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mt. Everest, died this morning. He was 88.
On May 29, 1953, Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norway conquered the world's highest peak, with equipment and support that is considerably outdated today. Knighted by the Queen of England on his return, Hillary then became a passionate advocate for improvement of Nepal's social infrastructure, most notably schools and health clinics. Hillary also led the campaign to clean up the mountain's south face, which over the years had become polluted from the debris left by mountaineers. He certainly had his fair share of controversy, but few can argue that the man always tried to do the right thing, and was more than successful than most in this endeavor.
I've always thought that you don't have to be born with special gifts to achieve success, that much can be accomplished with intelligence and sheer force of will. I believe Sir Edmund agreed.
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
- Sir Edmund Hillary.