Sir Edmund Percival Hillary KG, ONZ, KBE
1919 – Edmund Hillary was born on July 20th,
Tuakau, South of Auckland, New Zealand.
His parents were Gertrude (nee Clark) and
Percival Augustus Hillary. He was the middle of
three children with an older sister June b1917 and
younger brother Wrexford Fleming Hillary
(known as Rex) b1920.
1935 – His first exposure to the mountains came
when he went on an Auckland Grammar school skiing trip to Mt Ruapehu in the
Tongariro National Park.
1939 – Climbed his first non-technical peak – Mt Ollivier in the Sealy Range in the
Mount Cook National Park.
1943-1945 – WWII RNZAF - Served as a navigator on Catalina Flying Boats in the
Pacific, but was repatriated back to New Zealand after receiving serious burns.
Click here for 5 Squadron Photo: http://www.5sqnassn.org.nz/gallery.html
He became an associate member of the New Zealand Alpine Club on January 1st,
1945 and made ascents of Kitchener, Sealy, De la Beche, Hamilton and Malte Brun in
1946 – January 19th ascended the Minarets and De la Beche, January 20th Aguille
Rouge, January 26th – Gray Peak and Haidinger. Made his first ascent of Mt Cook
(High Peak) with guide, Harry Ayres on January 30th and then ascended Dixon on
February 1st, followed by Silberhorn, Teichelmann and Clark Saddle February 4th
In June of 1946, Ed, who had already made two prior winter ascents of Tapuaenuku
9640ft, alongside brother Rex and A Robb set out on a traverse of the Kaikoura Range
from Awatere over the summit of Tapuaenuku to the Dee and Clarence Rivers. A very
cold and icy trip that resulted in some important lessons learned the hard way, in such
wintery conditions. More info: “Inland Kaikouras”
by E P Hillary NZAC Alpine Journal 1947
1947 – Ed became a full member of the New Zealand Alpine Club
1948 – Mt Cook Low Peak – the first ascent of the South Ridge was achieved on
February 6th at 1:45pm.
The climbing party was led by Harry Ayres and consisted of Ruth Adams, Ed Hillary