Everest to be Edmund Hillary’s last resting placeApril 1st, 2010 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, April 1 (IANS) Mt Everest, the world’s highest peak whose name came to be inextricably associated with its first conqueror, Sir Edmund Hillary, will be the last resting place of the New Zealander in a grateful tribute by Nepal, the tiny country he made famous worldwide.
A historic Everest expedition, led by another mountaineering legend Apa Sherpa, the man who has conquered the peak 19 times and is now eyeing his 20th ascent, will flag off from Kathmandu next week to place Hillary’s ashes on the 8,848-metre summit.
“After I die, let my ashes be scattered in the two places I love the most - the harbour in Auckland and Khumbu (the Everest region); that was Sir Edmund Hillary’s last big wish,” said Sharad Singh Bhandari, Nepal’s tourism minister.
“The Eco Everest 2010 expedition will place his ashes on Mt Everest and Nepal will pray that his soul rests in peace.”
Hillary, a bee-keeper by profession, became the first man to stand on Mt Everest, the highest point on earth, on May 23, 1953 with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.
Two years after his death in Auckland at the age of 89, his memory remains evergreen in the minds of the Sherpas of Himalayan Nepal for his love for them that he showed by building roads, schools and hospitals in the remote, once nearly inaccessible mountainous region.
“We hope to discharge the debt,” said Ang Rita Sherpa of the Himalayan Trust Nepal, founded by Sir Edmund to continue the development work he had started.
Hillary was cremated after his death on Jan 11, 2008 in accordance with Buddhist rites. While part of his ashes were sprinkled in the Auckland harbour, the rest was handed over by Sherpa in a ceremony in Kathmandu Thursday to Apa.
“In a Buddhist monastery Khunde, the village in Khumbu that was Hillary’s favourite, monks have been praying for two years in mourning,” Sherpa told IANS. “They will also hand over to Apa a statuette of the Buddha, a vial of holy water, rocks from the Everest and other relics to be placed on the summit with Sir Edmund’s ashes.”
The minister said the expedition would also proclaim to the world from the summit that Nepal was ready to celebrate 2011 as its tourism year when one million visitors are expected. It would also conduct a campaign to clean the mountain of the litter left by earlier expeditions.
“We plan to bring down seven tonnes of garbage,” said climber Dawa Steven Sherpa, whose brainchild the eco expedition is. In the last two years, earlier editions of the expedition have in all brought down seven tonnes of garbage.
It also hopes to see Apa, 50, nicknamed Super Sherpa, summit a record 20th time.
Nepal has already named the airport in Lukla, the region that is the gateway to Mt Everest, after Hillary and Tenzing. A marathon in the high region, that is now a yearly fixture, is also named after the two mountaineering heroes.
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- (VM) Indian Army women's team to scale Mount Everest - Mar 12, 2012
- Everest begins to give up its dead - May 13, 2010
- Indian Army women's team to again attempt Mt. Everest (Lead, superseding prervious story) - Mar 12, 2012
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