"I REALLY FEEL MY MAIN ENTRANCEMENT IS THE HIMALAYAS": ORIGINAL 1962 SIGNED TYPED LETTER BY EDMUND HILLARY DISCUSSING HIS PREFERENCE FOR THE HIMALAYAS OVER ANTARCTICA AND HIS PLANS TO RETURN TO THE EVEREST REGION TO HELP THE SHERPAS AND CLIMB A "MODEST" MOUNTAIN, WITH A PHOTOGRAPH SIGNED BY HILLARY
HILLARY, Edmund. Typed letter signed. WITH: Photograph signed. Chicago, Illinois, June 23, 1962. Single sheet of Sir Edmund Hillary Lecture Tour letterhead, measuring 8 by 11 inches; handsomely matted and framed with a signed color photograph, entire piece measures 21 by 16 inches. $5500.
Original 1962 typed letter from Edmund Hillary responding to a letter from a California newspaper columnist, apologizing that his jetsetting has delayed the letter; explaining his preference for the Himalayas and his plans for helping the Sherpa people and taking a climb around Everest; and offering to sign a copy of "The Crossing" during his remaining few months in the United States, boldly signed by Edmund Hillary. Handsomely framed with a color photograph of Hillary climbing in the Himalayas with his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, which has also been boldly signed by Hillary.
The letter, dated "June 23, 1962" and addressed to Mrs. James S. Echols of South Gate, California, reads in full: "Dear Mrs. Echols: Thank you for your letter of March 25th and I must apologize for the long delay in replying to it but it has been chasing me all over the world. I must congratulate you on your enthusiasm and courage as you certainly have had a rather difficult time. I met Admiral Tyree and Dr. Paul Siple in Washington only a few weeks ago and it was good to discuss old times with them. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in the Antarctic but really feel my main entrancement is the Himalayas. I am going back to the Everest region next year. I have become interested in helping the Sherpa people with their educational facilities and their medical problems. We will also be attempting to climb rather a modest mountain. I will be living in the United States until mid-November. If you would care to send your copy of 'The Crossing [of Antarctica]', I would be very happy to autograph it for you. Yours sincerely, [signed] E.P. Hillary." Although Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay summited Everest in 1953, they never attempted to replicate their original success. However, Hillary's love of the Himalayas endured. He visited in 1956, 1960-61, and 1963-65. Hillary deeply desired to help the Nepalese people—particularly the Sherpa—and thus established a charity called the Himalayan Trust in 1960s. Hillary's numerous visits to the area allowed him to supervise the construction of schoolhouses, medical clinics, and water pipelines. He also worked to establish access to routine healthcare and small pox vaccinations, which both poverty and remoteness had made difficult to obtain. As mentioned in this letter, Hillary did continue climbing. In 1963, he led an expedition team known as the Himalaya Schoolhouse Expedition and they summited Kangtega and attempted Taweche—possibly the "modest" climbing referred to in this letter. Admiral John Tyree and Paul Siple, mentioned in passing in the letter, were involved at the South Pole Station during Hillary's 1958 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, in which Hillary completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica in motorized vehicles. The recipient of this letter, Skip Echols" was a women's editor at South Gate Press and wrote a column called "Skipping Around with Skip Echols." She conducted an interview with Hillary during the last days of his American lecture tour promoting the publication of, "High in the Thin Cold Air." Included is a copy of Echols' article on Hillary entitled "Giant of Adventure."
Original fold creases, a few small marginal stains, light rubbing to edges. An extremely good, boldly signed letter. Attractively framed with a signed photo.