It goes without saying that a site called Base Camp needs to pay tribute the passing of Sir Edmund Hillary. An adequate beekeeper and a legendary explorer, he died last Friday at the age of 88.
Mr. Hillary is best known for making the first summit of Everest with Tenzing Norgay in 1953. They did it without Gore-Tex, without satellite phones and without someone going ahead and planning out routes. At the time, doctors weren’t even sure people could survive at that altitude. But, in Hillary’s words, they “knocked the bastard off”.
Afterwards, he went to the South Pole, explored the Ganges from mouth to source, and served as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India, Nepal and Bangladesh. He later went to the North Pole becoming the first man to stand atop Everest and the two poles. His heart seemed to stay in the Himalayas, though, and they became a focal point of his philanthropic work for the rest of his life.
I’ve been lucky enough to have followed in some of his footsteps around the globe. Albeit with very tiny strides and shallow impressions compared to his history-making impact. He was exploring and discovering, not just for himself, but for the rest of the world. Whether it was in the Himalayas, or on an African river or in an Irish pub, everyone spoke highly of the man behind the accomplishments as well. It would be hard to think of a life better lived.
Having conquered the highest point in existence, he now looks down from a much higher vista.