Nepali sherpa to scatter Hillary ashes on Everest

Thu Apr 1, 2010 5:38am EDT
 
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KATHMANDU (Reuters Life !) - A Nepali sherpa will scatter the ashes of Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest, on the top of the world, more than two years after the death of the climbing hero.

Hillary, who climbed Everest in 1953 along with Nepal's Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, died in 2008 at the age of 88 in New Zealand. He had wished that his ashes be scattered on the mountain and on Auckland's harbor, his former aides said.

The ashes destined for Everest have lain in a monastery in the sherpa village of Thame, in the shadows of the mountain, for the past two years.

"I will carry the ashes to the top of Mount Everest as per Hillary's wishes," Apa Sherpa, who is trying to make his 20th ascent of the 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) mountain this summer, told reporters on Thursday.

Apa, who already holds the record for the most successful Everest ascents, said he would also carry a small statue of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, to the summit to pray for the "eternal piece" of Hillary's soul.

"It is considered very sacred and good for the departed soul," Ang Rita Sherpa, who works for Hillary's Himalayan Trust in Kathmandu, said of the statue.

Hillary opened the Himalayan Trust and raised $250,000 annually to help build schools, hospitals, an airport and pipelines in the remote Solukhumbu district, home to Mount Everest and the sherpas known for their climbing skills. (Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Alex Richardson)