Monday, November 3, 2008

At 29,035 feet, Everest is the highest point on Earth.


We have a choice of numerous lenses with which to view this day. Outlooks change and readjust. Unlike yesterday, today I recognize my zeal for accomplishment with respect to establishing recognition as a good artist. Today I have no hesitation to self promote. My children and grandchildren were at our home last evening for dinner and there was love around the table and in our home. A challenge of sorts was discussed among the adults. Would all the adults in our family prepare for a five kilometre run being held in January 2009? That’s two and one half months from now. I have been slack lately. If it’s raining in the morning it’s my excuse for not going for my 2 K walk. But yesterday’s challenge was all I need to ignite my desire. Contest awakens my resolve. It’s inexplicable. It’s my wiring. I have to train to run 5 Ks.

I have derived some inspiration reading Sir Edmund Hillary’s tribute material. He died at age 88 on January 11, 2008. Hillary’s celebrity followed the May 29, 1953 ascent of Mount Everest by Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norga, the first climbers known to stand at the top of the world. In the last 50 years, 10,000 men and women have tried to climb Everest. About 1,200 have succeeded and about 200 have died. What made the man stand tall was what he did with the rest of his life.
What did he do? He never forgot Nepal. Without flourish or compensation he poured energy and resources into Nepal through the Himalayan Trust that he founded in 1962. He funded and helped build hospitals health clinics, airfields and schools. He raised funds for higher education for Sherpa families, and helped set up reforestation programs in the impoverished country. About $250,000 a year was raised by the charity for projects in Nepal. Hillary's commitment to Nepal took him back more than 120 times, last visiting in 2007. It was on a visit to Nepal that his first wife, Louise, 43, and 16-year-old daughter Belinda died in a light plane crash March 31, 1975.

On 6 1953 he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a member of the Order of New Zealand in 1987 and a Knight of the Order of the Garter on April 22 1995. He was also awarded the Polar Medal for his Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. In 1992 Hillary appeared on the updated New Zealand $5 note. Various streets, schools and organizations around New Zealand and abroad are named after him. A few examples are Hillary College (Otara), Edmund Hillary Primary School (Papakura) and the Hillary Commission (now SPARC).

He parlayed an ordinary life into a truly extraordinary one and in the process demonstrated that greatness is possible for any of us. He wrote in his autobiography, “I discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve." In an interview he commented that his life had been "a constant effort to illustrate how a very mediocre person with very mediocre talents which I have can create quite a lot if they really drive themselves."


  1. Sherpas are the true heroes of Everest. Without their assistance, very few would reach the summit. To learn more about this amazing tribe, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

    Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to

    Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

    Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
    Richard Blake for Readers Views.

    A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest.

    A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

    LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

    LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

    A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there.

    This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
    – John (college professor)

    Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialog. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

    This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

    Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
    By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

    Available through Barnes and Noble, Borders,,, and the web site

  2. What an informative and inviting response you have left here. Thanks nepalwriter for that.
    Ron Unruh