Everest pioneers will be remembered

Time of article published Feb 11, 2008

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Kathmandu - Nepal has renamed the airport that serves as the gateway to Mount Everest after late pioneer climbers Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, the country's tourism minister said on Monday.

"The Lukla airport will now be known as the Tenzing-Hillary Airport. The cabinet approved the renaming of the airport on Sunday," Tourism Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung said.

Set up with help from Hillary's Himalayan Trust in 1964, Lukla airport, 140km north east of Kathmandu, is one of the busiest in the country during the spring and autumn trekking and mountaineering seasons.

"A part of the trail to reach the Everest Base Camp will also be named as Tenzing-Hillary route," the minister said.

Hillary, the modest New Zealand beekeeper who shot to global fame as the first person to climb Mount Everest, died last month, aged 88.

Hillary and Norgay made history in May 1953 when they reached the summit of the 8 848m peak.

After the historic Everest ascent, Hillary continued to assist Sherpas in Nepal's remote Solokhumbu region, and was instrumental in helping build dozens of schools, hospitals and health centres there.

Nepal's government also plans to honour Hillary, who was knighted by Great Britain, with the Himalayan nation's most prestigious award for his outstanding achievement.

"We are discussing whether to honour Hillary with the Order of the Star of Nepal, for his contribution to Nepal," Gurung said.

The minister also said officials were considering renaming one of Nepal's mountains as "Tenzing-Hillary peak."

Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said the proposed peak was the 8 400m high Lhotse Shar, a part of the Lhotse massif near Everest. - AFP

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