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Picture Summit of Mount Everest

The Mystical Summit of Mount Everest 

During the course of his career Sir Edmund Hillary has explored places where no human being had gone before, and by making the first successful accent of Mount Everest captured the world's imagination. His achievement in successfully scaling Mount Everest for the very first time was one of the Twentieth Century's defining moments.

Sir Edmund Hillary holding a climbers axe
" The Summit"

Limited edition bronze of  29 pieces celebrating the esteemed accomplishments of Sir Edmund Hillary show his hands holding an Ice Axe. Produced in Bronze from life cast molds created by Raelee Frazier , Highland Studio, Denver, Co.

Sir Edmund Hillary in Chicago
Sir Edmund Hillary in Chicago with the sculpture "THE SUMMIT"  after being shown the finished art for the first time, November 2000.

About the art and a brief history of the 1953 British Everest Expedition

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay  Mount Everest Pictures Photo RGS

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay about to leave the South Col to establish camp IX below the south summit. May 1953 

History of the 1953 British Everest Expedition

In the first half of the 20th century expeditions to conquer Mount Everest  took the form of  an international competition between the major nations of the world. At this time in history the summit of Everest represented one of the last of the unconquered  frontiers of the planet. Reaching Everest's pinnacle was considered to be a prize of momentous proportion. Many had tried and failed to make the accent. 

The death of the two British climbers, Mallory and Irvine during a previous attempts in 1922 and 1924 had proven the conquest of Everest was not only extremely difficult but life threatening. The interest in conquering Everest had taken on the proportions of an international competition and the British were determined to be first to summit Everest.

In 1952 members of  the Swiss contingency had come close only to be turned back less than a thousand vertical feet from the summit. In the same year England received a permit from the Nation of Nepal to do a reconnaissance of the southern approach to the mountain. The announcement of the letting of this permit was an unprecedented diplomatic success for England because up until this time Nepal had closed its boarders to visitors from the European Nations. 

This breakthrough in diplomacy and the receipt of the permit caused a stir in England and set the stage for the selection of the expeditionary force of 400 souls to conquer Everest. Because of his reputation for mountaineering Edmund Hillary had qualified himself to become a member of the team selected to attempt the accent. After another party from the British contingent had attempted to scale Everest had failed  Hillary and the Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay were selected to make a second attempt and finally succeeded in reaching the summit at 11:30 am May 29, 1953.


     From the Archive of Mount Everest pictures of the Royal Geographical SocietyRGS

Edmund Hillary took this photograph of Tenzing Norgay using an Ice Axe as a standard for the British Flag as they became the first human beings to set foot on the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth. Ironically Tensing would be required to use this same axe to save Hillary's life during a mishap in a crevasse field during the parties decent from the Summit.

Sir Edmund Hillary was responsible for making most of the Mount Everest pictures taken during the ascent therefore Hillary was also most responsible for building the archive of Mount Everest pictures of the 1953 expeditionary force for the british Royal Geographical Society.

Hillary's successful accent was truly a Crowning Glory for England

The British Empire having suffered the losses of  India, Palestine and South Africa to the commonwealth during the course of the Second World War was about to enter a new era in the rule of the Empire.   The war and post war periods had been earmarked with sacrifice and the severe restrictions required for the survival of what remained of the Empire. The most significant event marking the beginning of a new era was the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. As fate would have it the announcement of Hillary's successful accent of Everest was made by the London Times in England on the day of her Coronation June, 2, 1953.

 The combination of the coronation and the successful accent of the one of the planets last frontiers by the British Everest Expeditionary Force helped set a positive and forward looking atmosphere within the commonwealth. In History the timing of an event often is as important as the event itself and Hillary's accomplishment couldn't have come at a more opportune moment to help set a positive tone for the next decade. As a result  the importance of Sir Edmunds accomplishment assured his continued status within the British Empire. Edmund was later to be Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of the overall importance of his contributions to the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Sir Edmund Hillary as Humanitarian

Sir Edmund says about himself "In some ways I believe I epitomize the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed." 

Sir Edmund Hillary with school boys in England
Sir Edmund Surrounded by School Children

Sir Edmund has used his notoriety with wisdom and grace and has continued to be a  positive force for the betterment of the Nepalese people as well as an outspoken advocate and spokesman for environmental causes. He is the founder and leader of several Foundations dedicated to improving the social and physical conditions of the Nepalese people. He has succeeded in building schools, hospitals and infrastructure vital to trade and commerce for the Nepalese. History may eventually record Sir Edmund's humanitarian efforts to be his most lasting and meaningful legacy despite the monumental  proportion and significance to the human Psyche of his determination, will and physical abilities on Mount Everest.

Sir Edmund and Lady Hillary at the presentation of the art at "The Hillary Foundation" board meeting Chicago. Il November 1999

Sir Edmund Hillary Signing Certificates of Authenticity for "The Summit"   in Chicago, November 1999

The Most Famous Living New Zealander

         Now 86 years old, Hillary is no longer an active mountaineer, but is still a tireless fundraiser and worker for education and health projects in Nepal. Hillary has been widely honored in New Zealand, England and around the world, and is the only living New Zealander to be featured on a bank note.

Certificate of Authenticity

Issued by Highlands Studio with each limited edition sculpture Signed and Authenticated by the artist and Sir Edmund Hillary

DHL was our carrier of choice to ship Sir Edmund Hillary's personal copy of "The Summit"


Recommended Reading 

Books By Sir Edmund Hillary

  • High adventure . 1955
  • East of Everest . 1956
  • No latitude for error . 1961
  • High in the thin cold air . 1963
  • Schoolhouse in the clouds . 1965
  • Sir Edmunds Autobiography, Nothing venture, nothing win . 1975
  • From the ocean to the sky . 1979
  • Two generations . 1984
  • The view from the summit . 1999

Visit these web sites for more Information on Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary Biographies:

  The American Academy of Achievement

 Nova: History and Culture  
Follow the storied and often tragic history of climbing on Mt. Everest, from the early years to the present day.

From the Salon writer Don George's excellent article:

"The man to match his mountain," in the `Brilliant Careers' series

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