Ascent: Two Lives Explored : The Autobiographies of Sir Edmund and Peter Hillary

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Doubleday, Oct 1, 1986 - Biography & Autobiography - 223 pages
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This autobiography interweaves the stories of the famous father and son adventurers, their separate impressions of the lives they have lived with one another and apart, and their pioneering expeditions to the top of the world

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Ascent: two lives explored: the autobiographies of Sir Edmund and Peter Hillary

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Mountaineering adventures and achievements are emphasized in these autobiographies of father and son, rather than activities disclosing the private person. This is most noticeable in the son's ... Read full review



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About the author (1986)

Mountain climber and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand on July 20, 1919. He became one of the first two men to successfully climb to the top of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. He and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norkay, reached the top of Everest on May 29, 1953. Hillary wrote of this conquest in a chapter titled "Final Assault," found in The Conquest of Everest by Sir John Hunt. Queen Elizabeth knighted both of them during the coronation festivities of 1953. Before the Everest triumph, Hillary had written several books about his adventures on other famous expeditions, including several climbs of other Himalayan peaks. In 1957, he established New Zealand's Scott Base in Antarctica and led the first vehicles overland to the South Pole. In June 1960, Hillary announced that in the fall he would attempt an ascent of the 27,790-foot Malaka Peak in Nepal, about 20 miles east of Everest. He had two objectives: "...first, to determine the effects of high altitude on climbers not equipped with oxygen equipment and, second, to make further efforts to track down the 'Abominable Snowman'" (New York Times). The results, which were negligible, are told in High in the Thin Cold Air (1962), which Hillary co-authored with Desmond Doig. This expedition did, however, establish a school at Khumjung, which made up for some of the other disappointments. In 1985 Hillary was named ambassador to India. He died on January 11, 2008 at the age of 88.

When Peter Hillary climbed Mt. Everest in 1990, thirty seven years after his father's historic first ascent in 1953, they became the first father and son to reach the top of the world. It was just one of more than thirty major expeditions to the Himalayas, the Andes, the Karakoram, the Arctic, and the Antarctic. Peter Hillary works as a speaker, a writer, and an adventure travel operator. He is married and has four children.

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