Sunday, 8 February 2009

Ed Hillary quotes

After a few serious postings I thought it would be good to read the words of a humble New Zealander who ascended the world's greatest peak.

* "We knocked the bastard off" – announcing he and Tensing had reached Everest’s summit.

* "I like to think that I am a very ordinary New Zealander, not terribly bright perhaps but determined and practical in what I do" – at the 50th anniversary

* "I thought, ‘well Ed, me boy, we've done it’." - on reaching the Polar Plateau after leading the first vehicles overland in Antarctica to the South Pole in 1957 and wondering "whether I was heading in the right direction".


* "To be washed gently ashore, maybe on the many pleasant beaches near the place I was born. Then the full circle of my life will be complete." - on why he wanted his ashes scattered in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour

* Nepalese, he said, did not ask for poverty while New Zealanders lived in affluence: "The fact that we do is a blessing, and with it comes responsibilities."

* On becoming a knight: "It was a tremendous honour, of course, but I had never really approved of titles and couldn’t really imagine myself possessing one"

* "I could see myself walking down Broadway, Papakura, in my tattered overalls and the seat out of my pants, and I thought ‘That's gone forever. I'll have to buy a new pair of overalls now'."

* "In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander. I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination and I rather like to succeed."

* To an Indian reporter who asked him if he knew he was seen by many as a god: "Well I know I’m not, so it doesn’t bother me."

* From Hillary’s diary, published in his ‘Nothing Venture, Nothing Win’:
"I continued on, cutting steadily and surmounting bump after bump and cornice after cornice looking eagerly for the summit. It seemed impossible to pick it and time was running out. Finally I cut around the back of an extra large hump and then on a tight rope from Tensing I climbed up a gentle snow ridge to its top. Immediately it was obvious that we had reached our objective. It was 11.30a.m. and we were on top of Everest!"
He describes the landscape below them and continues: "Tensing and I shook hands and then Tensing threw his arms around my shoulders. It was a great moment! I took off my oxygen and for ten minutes I photographed Tensing holding flags, the various ridges of Everest and the general view. I left a crucifix on top for John Hunt and Tensing made a little hole in the snow and put in it some food offerings - lollies, biscuits and chocolate. We ate Mint Cake and then put our oxygen back on. I was a little worried by the time factor so after 15 minutes on top we turned back at 11.45."

12 comments:

Marja said...

The fact that we do is a blessing, and with it comes responsibilities.
I admire him for wath he did for the people of Nepal. A great human being

and yes New Zealanders are very modest people. You are comfortable here to speak to anybody There is no class system (although it is starting)

Bob McKerrow said...

Thanks for yr comments. Yes, Sir Ed was a modest man and stood for many good qualities in NZ, although he has his other side which I got to know when working with him in Nepal.

I hope the class system does not creep into our egalitarian society and if people think they are important, they will only become a legend in their lunchtime, not their lifetime. Take care Marja.

Bob

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
I have come to understand there were many Kiwi mountaineers the equal to Ed as a climber in that generation. Perhaps it was his temperment which made him perfect to accept the challenges of his success. As modest as Ed was, a huge part of him seems to have been very driven.
As to Marja's comment I do agree when I moved here I found it amazing that I could be at a barbeque with a completely eclectic group of people, particularly economically. I have found that is changing and there are those who seem to relish being big fish in a little pond.
Cheers,
Robb

Bob McKerrow said...

Dear Robb

Sir Ed was a great man. Paul Powell wrote in his book Men Aspiring " All men are liars, mountaineers are great men."

I think the point Paul Powell was trying to make was that mountaineers are strong personailities, and are driven. competitive, sometimes manipulative, and have their weaknesses too.

I am sure a book will come out soon showing the other side of Sir Ed. Who ever chooses to write it will be a brave man, as Sir Ed is a Kiwi Icon.

Concerning 'big fish in a little ponds' I think they should read Walden Pond by H.D. Thoreau. They might understand what a pond really is.

Cheers mate.

Bob

D'Arcy said...

I loved reading these. I don't know much about him, was he able to have his ashes spread where he wished?

Bob McKerrow said...

Hi D'Arcy

Yes, I believe his ashes were spread as per his wishes. They are really kiwi quotes from a modest man.

Bob

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Kia ora Bob

There can be no disputing the fact that Sir Edmund Hillary was the greatest mountaineer the world has ever known. A great leader and inspiration to people around the world. You have cited great quotes from this great man. In his writings, which I had the pleasure of reading some of them, I sensed that he was devoid of arrogance. Clearly if he had this nasty trait it would not be hard to find in his written words.

Thank you very much for revisiting Sir Edmund Hillary.

Cheers
Paterika

Bob McKerrow said...

Dear Paterika

Ed Hillary was a man who was driven and his climb of Everest and getting to the South Pole demonstrated that.

Yes, he was a great man. I am an honest person and know many New Zealanders who went on expeditions with him. They either loved him or they chose not to go on his expeditions again.

We have to be careful not to deify someone like Ed as he was an ordinary man who got one significant break to join the 1953 Everest Expedition. He made the most of that break.

I met him on a number of ocassions and liked the man. Simple and opinionated.

However, there is another story to be told about Sir Ed and I am sure it will come out in time.

Have a good week.

Bob

kamagra said...

Incredible!! I'd like to go to a place like that because I like the risky situations and getting an experience like that, and taking a lot of photos.

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