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Old 01-12-2008, 12:00 AM   #16
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For what it's worth, the local man I hired for the day as a guide when I visited some villages in that area (Solukhumbu) back when I was doing my dissertation research--he was Newar though, not Sherpa--said that prior to Westerners' arrival in the region, locals would have considered climbing to Everest's summit "sacrilegious," as it was one of several peaks in the area considered to be the abodes of goddesses. Assuming this was true, even so, I suppose you could still question whether that's perhaps more of a chicken-or-egg rationalization, since there certainly are other very tall--but far more readily ascendable--mountains in the area which have shrines to the goddess/spirits of the mountain built on their summits (of course there could be other explanations for that too, such as different ethnic/caste/sectarian groups with different religious sensibilities). But at any rate, that's what he told me.

It is possible to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen though, no? I didn't do any actual 'mountaineering' while I was there, just some very high-altitude walking between villages, but certainly from having done that I can attest to the fact that, like mountain peoples everywhere, the locals' lungs and circulatory systems are obviously FAR better adapted to the thin air than ours are. I've run more than a dozen marathons and considered myself in pretty good shape at the time, but still I was huffing and puffing just toting my little day-pack up those footpaths, and felt totally humiliated how all these wizened old local women carrying huge loads of stuff on their backs we kept encountering were obviously having a much easier time of it than I was!

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Old 01-12-2008, 06:32 AM   #17
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Originally posted by Axver

Awesome - which parts of the country are you visiting? I'm a North Islander myself, from just outside Wellington, but I think the South Island is easily the better island from a tourist perspective. Places like Kaikoura, Wanaka, and really anywhere in Fjordland are just stunning.
The plan is for the South Island, flying in to Christchurch and going from there. We've only got about a week so we won't be able to see as much as we'd like.

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Old 01-12-2008, 08:32 AM   #18
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Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler were the first to climb Mount Everest without supplementary oxygen in 1978, and Reinhold Messner even did a solo climb two years later.

In the 1970s, Messner championed the cause for ascending Mount Everest without supplementary oxygen, saying that he would do it "by fair means" or not at all.[2] In 1978, he summited Everest with Peter Habeler.[3] He later summited Everest on the Tibetan side in 1980, the first solo summit. This was the first time anyone had been that high without bottled oxygen and Messner and Habeler proved what most doctors, specialists, and mountaineers thought impossible. It changed mountaineering forever.
I think it was a great accomplishment by Hillary to climb Mount Everest, and being so humble about it and treating Tenzing Norgay this respectfully is something to admire in my eyes.

It's nice to see that he enjoyed such a long life.
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:32 AM   #19
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Sir Ed is a national hero and someone we all love in NZ. We will miss him greatly.
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:54 AM   #20
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His legacy will remain forever....RIP Sir Edmund Hillary

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