This is me goofing off with explorer Peter Hillary — hoisting a flag as if we are conquering the great white continent after a wild expedition…
Peter is probably most commonly recognized as the eldest son of the first man to summit Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary. They were the first father/son to both climb the world’s highest mountain. What is not as commonly known is that Sir Edmund Hillary was committed to building schools and medical clinics in the foothills of Nepal — it was his life’s great work. He’d built and ran 42 schools, hospitals and medical clinics near Mt. Everest.
Peter has been going to the area since he was a small child and continues the Hillary tradition of giving back to the Sherpa people of Nepal who make all Everest expeditions possible. If you’re going to trek or have trekked the region, the Hillary’s are largely to thank. Peter visits Nepal each year working for the family of foundations that contribute to programs across the Himalayas. He was on a climbing expedition when last week’s earthquake hit near Katmandu and thankfully, he is okay — though he undoubtedly is touched like few others by this tragic event.
I wrote a little more about my meeting with Peter in an article I penned about Antarctica:
‘Traveling with Peter was both an honor and an eye-opening experience. Through lectures he gave at sea and during one-on-one conversations, I was able to learn about what the life of an explorer is really like and and how with it comes not only great moments, but tragic moments as well. I talked to him about space exploration and what we’re currently working on at NASA in terms of human exploration; which to me he returned a story of going to the south pole with his father and Neil Armstrong. Life can be surreal…’