Late last week, New Zealand lost a true hero. Sir Edmond Hillary, or Sir Ed, to those that had the pleasure of meeting him was both a gentle man and a true pioneer. I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Ed on two occasions; both times in San Francisco at meetings of the American Himalayan Society. Sir Ed was gracious in his humility and a constant fighting spirit about the beauty and opportunities associated with mountaineering. I learned in 1987 what Sir Ed learned nearly 35 years earlier. I learned that the Khumbu region near Mount Everest, transforms a visitor and permanent changes perspectives about what can be accomplished when one commits mind and body to achieve a goal and that with all opportunities comes risk.
I thank Sir Ed for leading the way for so many to follow. That the calling of the mountains lasts a lifetime and through constant devotion and attention the opportunities ahead, we can all move forward, constantly learning and making our world better along the way.