Ed Hillary’s Granddaughter to Climb Everest

Lily Hillary is determined to climb Mount Everest, just like her grandad did in 1953.

It’s been 65 years since Sir Edmund Hillary became the first person to summit the world’s highest mountain. He died in 2008 at the age of 88 from a heart attack.

His passion for mountain climbing lives on, with his 18-year-old granddaughter, finishing up this year at Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls, setting her sights on the summit too.

Lily Hillary

Lily Hillary, granddaughter of Sir Edmund Hillary, on Mt Eden in Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring

Overlooking the city from Mt Eden, she told the Herald she knew she had to start small, just like her granddad and her dad, Peter, who has also made it to the top twice before.

Lily said she was all too aware of the potential risks involved as well.

“It’s nerve wracking watching those Everest films and it doesn’t go so well and knowing that that might be you up there,” she said.

“My grandfather had a great sense of humour but he knew, and as does my dad, they know when to be serious and go ‘actually this is a life threatening situation’.

“I can be a bit of a joker and I definitely think I haven’t been put on an extreme enough mountain to learn that this is life threatening in some situations.”

She said the advice her granddad gave her as a child was simple.

“He said to me ‘you do what you love’.

But Lily said climbing was “definitely” in their blood.

“We’ve grown up on mountains, we’ve grown up climbing and scrambling up rocks and competing against each other, which has been such fun.

“Honestly, I think it’s something we really enjoy … being outside and being together. It’s not just the mountain but who you’re with and the experience as well.”

She said she was looking forward to next year’s adventure to Nepal – a country she had always wanted to visit – to do Base Camp and the following year’s goal of making it to the very top.

Lily won’t be doing it alone either – her older brothers, Alex, 22, and George, 26, her Dad and her Mum, Yvonne, are also planning on coming along. Her mum, too, for moral support.

“I personally have never been with my whole family at the bottom of such an extreme mountain in such an amazing place, where we’ve got so much heritage.”

It’ll be the first time her brothers attempt it too. George, Lily said, was particularly determined to do it in 2020.

In the meantime, with end-of-year exams fast approaching, Lily said her training was far from intensive.

“I’m doing my usual running training which is five or six times a week.” She also does horse riding, boxing and had recently signed up for a pentathlon.

Lily said when exams and school were over, she would switch her attention to learning how to use the harness and the ropes.

“I’ll be doing a lot more climbing … serious climbing with my dad and my brothers next year just so I get a hang of the ropes so I won’t kind of hold back the team … or be the weakest link”, she laughed.

Yvonne said the Everest plan arose from her sons’ ticking off climbs on an international Seven Summits list.

They had already climbed Kilimanjaro (Africa, 5896m), Puncak Jaya (Papua, Indonesia, 4884m), Elbrus (Russia, 5642m), and Alex had climbed Mt Blanc (France, 4807m). With Lily, they plan to climb Denali (Alaska, 6194m) next year.

“Alexander is the one most set on climbing Everest in 2020. I’m not sure about George at this stage.”

Source: New Zealand Herald