The Man Who Stood on Top of the World

For one who had reached such a lofty height, he was a strange mix of confidence and modesty. A beekeeper from New Zealand, Sir Edmund Hillary was an aggressive amateur mountaineer drawn, he said, by the appeal of "grinding [competitors] into the ground on a big hill." Yet after accomplishing one of the 20th century's defining feats—his conquest, with Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953—he channeled the attention and knighthood that followed toward aiding the Nepalese Sherpas, who had so often helped him. Raising funds through his Himalayan Trust, a project he continued until his death,...

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