Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008)

Few goals captured the imagination like the first ascent of Mount Everest, at 29,035' the highest point on Earth. Early attempts to climb Everest were turned back with a vehemence than soon had many believing the mountain could not be climbed. And then, in May of 1953, a New Zealander named Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay became the first to stand atop Everest's summit.

Hillary's accomplishment brought worldwide fame and recognition of the sort rarely experienced by mountaineers. Like all of History's greatest adventurers, Hillary and Norgay expanded the limits of the possible on that day in the Himalayas. After Everest, Hillary remained active as a climber, though he did not summit the world's highest peak again. He also established the Himalayan Trust, dedicated to helping the Sherpa of Nepal.

Hillary died on January 11, 2008, in Auckland. He was 88.

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents