Edmund Hillary - in his own words

Below are some of the notable comments made by Sir Edmund Hillary, who died today aged 88.

* Announcing to his climbing companions that he and Tenzing had reached Everest's summit:

"We knocked the bastard off."

* On the changes fame brings:

"I used to walk down Broadway, Papakura, in my tattered overalls and the seat out of my pants. Now, I thought 'That's gone forever. I'll have to buy a new pair of overalls now'."

* On life's inner challenges:

"It is not the mountains that we conquer, but ourselves."

* On the motivation for climbing mountains:

"Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it."

* On what is attainable by Everyman:

"You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things -- to compete.

You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals."

* At the 50th anniversary of the conquering of Everest:

"I like to think that I am a very ordinary New Zealander, not terribly bright perhaps but determined and practical in what I do."

* On 'giving back' later in life:

"The fact that we (in NZ are affluent) is a blessing, and with it comes responsibilities."

* On his reasons for establishing his humanitarian project, the Himalayan Trust, to assist the impoverished in Nepal:

"It is impossible not to see that they lack all the things that we regard as essential in life. They don't have schools and they don't have any medical care or anything of this nature. And I suddenly decided that instead of just talking about it - why didn't I try and do something about it."

* On becoming a knight:

"It was a tremendous honour, of course, but I had never really approved of titles and couldn't really imagine myself possessing one."

* On the news that his face would adorn a banknote - the five dollar note, the first living New Zealander to be so honoured:

"I guess I'll have be respectable for the rest of my life."

* On the decision by NZ climber Mark Inglis who passed a dying British mountaineer during an ascent of Mt Everest for the Discovery Channel:

"All I can say is that in our expedition there was never any likelihood whatsoever if one member of the party was incapacitated that we would just leave him to die."

- NZHERALD STAFF

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