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Social Studies Biographies
Sir Edmund Hillary
|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 8 to 9|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||7.92|
Sir Edmund Hillary
By Phyllis Naegeli
1 Edmund Hillary was born in New Zealand on July 20, 1919. He was a shy and quiet boy whose refuge became books. Through his love for reading, he dreamed of an exciting and adventurous life. The motivation for his greatest accomplishment, scaling Mount Everest, came when he was sixteen. During a school ski trip to Mount Ruapehu in northern New Zealand, he fell in love with the snow and the mountains. He also discovered he had exceptional physical endurance. Little did he know that this ski trip would lead him to climb Mount Everest "because it was there."
2 Hillary served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II. After the war, he continued in his father's occupation as a beekeeper. This occupation allowed him to follow his passion in life -- climbing mountains. He joined the New Zealand Alpine Club and began climbing. His first adventures were in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. But his ultimate goal became Everest. In 1951, he went to the Himalayas as part of a New Zealand contingent. The first attempt ended in failure, yet he was undeterred. In 1953, he returned to Everest with a British team. This time it was to prove successful.
3 On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary completed his trek to the summit of Everest. As he made his final step, he noticed that the mountain took a steep downward turn. He, and his guide Tenzing Norgay, had accomplished what no human beings had done before - they had reached the top of the world's highest peak at 29,028 feet. Hillary took out his camera and photographed his Nepalese guide, Tenzing Norgay. However, no picture of Hillary at the peak exists.
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