Hillary Tells Tourists

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first mountaineer to conquer Mt Everest, on Thursday requested foreign tourists to visit Nepal in the wake of renewed optimism of sustainable peace in the country.

“Tourists should visit to Nepal to help revive the shattered economy,” said a frail-looking Hillary. Talking to the Post, he also requested tourists to put Nepal in their list as a destination to visit. “My feeling is that visiting Nepal is pretty good. Things are very much normal in Nepal,” he said. Hillary, who flew to the Everest region in a helicopter on Thursday, appreciated the mountains as "superbly beautiful". “After all, Nepal has a great deal of natural gifts to offer tourists.”

Asked what made him keep coming to Nepal, he said it is the close feeling he shares with Sherpas and other marvelous Nepali people. Expressing happiness over the present trip, he said it was an exciting experience to return to Nepal With climbing companion Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, Hillary conquered Everest on May 29, 1953. Hillary, who has drawn worldwide attention as a famous mountaineer, is well known for extending praiseworthy support to charity works like building schools, hospitals and bridges in the Everest region through his Himalayan Trust.

Despite the escalating conflict, he said, his Himalayan Trust did not face any difficulty in the past to run his charity projects. “The trust spends around US$ 0.5 million annually for its projects,” he said.His trip to Nepal, which was originally scheduled a couple of weeks back, had been delayed due to political disturbances. He landed in Nepal on April 30 and is returning to New Zealand on Sunday. Born in July 19, 1919, in Auckland, New Zealand, Hillary served as a pilot during World War II and earned renown as an ice-climber. Besides Hillary, other famous mountaineers are also presently in Nepal to ascend different mountains this spring season. Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach atop Everest has been attempting to scale Mt Manaslu. Likewise, two other Korean mountaineers having already scaled 14 mountains above 8,000 meters - Sean Young Park and Um Hong Gil are well into their attempt to conquer Mt Everest and Lhotse Sar.

Sean Young Park and Um Hong Gil are well into their attempt to conquer Mt Everest and Lhotse Sar. Even as a series of political upheavals scared tourists to visit Nepal in recent times, the situation in the mountaineering sector seems to be unaffected. The latest figures of Tourism Industry Division (TID) shows that a total of 52 foreign expeditions have received permission to scale various mountains this spring, a slight decline from 54 foreign expeditions during the same period last year. “Generally, mountaineers come to ascend peaks until mid-May for permission. So, we are expecting the number of expeditions this season to exceed last year's,” said an official at the division.