Peter Hillary

2003 is a year of much celebration in the Hillary family. On the 29th May, 50 years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary made the historic first ascent of Mt Everest. To commemorate his father’s achievement, Peter Hillary recently climbed to the summit of the world’s highest mountain on a National Geographic sponsored expedition. The story of that expedition—and of the intervening years since the first climb in 1953, is retold in National Geographic’s big film of the year, Surviving Everest. Peter first climbed Mount Everest in 1990, at which time he and Sir Edmund became the first father and son to have accomplished this pinnacle of adventuring achievement. They are also the first two generations of one family to have reached the South Pole overland from the Antarctic Coast. Both of them established new routes to the South Pole.

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Notable Achievements

  • Over 38 mountaineering expeditions including Everest West Ridge, Makalu West Pillar, Mt Vinson, Aconcagua, Lhotse, Amadablam and Carstenz Pyramid.
  • Surviving the storm on K2: In 1995 Peter Hillary turned his back on a climb of the world’s second highest mountain, the notorious K2. He was just a few hundred metres from the summit. He survived, but the storm claimed the lives of seven others he’d been climbing with.
  • Landing small aircraft at the North Pole with Sir Edmund and astronaut Neil Armstrong.
  • The first ski descent of Mt Aspiring: the Matterhorn of the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The first high-altitude traverse of the Himalayan Range, 1981: a 3000 mile/5000 kms route from Mt Kanchenjunga in Sikkim through Nepal and India to K2 in Pakistan.
  • From the ‘Ocean to the Sky’: jetboating up the sacred Ganges river with his father in 1977, from the Sundarbunds in the Bay of Bengal to high in the Himalayas near Badrinath, where they made first ascents of Mount Nar Parbat and Mount Akash Parbat.
  • Shark frenzies in the Coral Sea: feeding and filming sharks with Ron and Valerie Taylor at the Osprey Reef 200 kms off the north Queensland coast.

Business: Peter is an adventure travel operator and guide specialising in the Himalayas and Antarctica. He guided Qantas CEO James Strong on Mt Vinson in Antarctica and entrepreneur Dick Smith up Carstenz Pyramid in Irian Jaya. He holds a commercial pilot’s license for fixed wing aircraft. He also works as a professional public speaker and writer. He is the author of four mountaineering books and one children’s book with a sixth book due for publication in New York in late 2003; he writes magazine articles, works on outdoor equipment design and marketing for Fairydown Adventure, the same company that equipped his father and Tenzing in 1953.

Media: Peter has featured extensively on television including two interviews on Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, countless major radio programs and print media such as The New York Times and Parade Magazine. He has appeared in numerous documentaries, including the recent National Geographic feature, Surviving Everest, in 2003.

Philanthropy: Peter is a member of the Himalayan Trust, an organisation founded by his father to assist the local people of the Mount Everest region, where they have built and run 42 schools, hospitals and medical clinics. Since 1992, Peter has taken over 1,000 teenagers to assist with construction work on some of the Himalayan Trust hospitals and schools and other community projects.

Television, Film and radio

  • National Geographic documentary celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the climbing of Mt Everest, premiered April 2003.
  • The Late Show with David Letterman – In-studio interview in New York with David Letterman
  • Good Morning America – Two interviews; one live via satellite from Scott Base, Antarctica; the other an in-studio New York appearance.
  • Up Close and Personal – Feature interview with Ray Martin, Channel Nine, Australia (two appearances)
  • West Matukituki Ramble: Trekking and Climbing in New Zealand’s South Island, Parts One and Two produced by Anyplace Wild for PBS
  • Sons of the Mountaineers: Trekking and Climbing in New Zealand, Parts One and Two, part of the series Anyplace Wild produced by Environmental Recreation Group, Inc in Camden, Maine, aired in most states of the US on PBS during mid-1998
  • Everest Expedition video for the Australian Wool Corporation
  • The Escape programme for Channel 7, Australia, in 1987 and ’88, as a programme presenter
  • The Everest Expedition film, 1987
  • The Rimo Expedition film, 1986
  • India, a personal encounter, 1986
  • Filming sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, 1985.
  • Return to Everest with the National Geographic, 1980 and 1983.
  • From the Ocean to the Sky with Sir Edmund Hillary, 1977
  • The Kaipo Wall with Sir Edmund Hillary, 1974
  • Numerous other minor documentary films and promotional films; and countless interviews for television and radio in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, including the BBC, NHK and Associated Press.

Recent Presentations

Cisco; Lucent Technologies; Worcester Foundation, U.S; Mars Confectionery; L.G Philips; Golden Key Society; Qantas Chief Executive’s Club; NZ Tourism Foundation in Germany; Hauser Foundation, Germany; YPO Melbourne; and numerous other appearances for corporations such as IBM, McDonalds, Caltex, Mobil, Shell, The Federal Group, KPMG, Wang, Compaq, Tower, AMP, Andersen’s Consulting, IMAX, Iridium, Telecom, Telstra, and several insurance and financial companies.

Books and Publications

  • A Sunny day in the Himalayas, Hodder & Stoughton
  • First Across The Roof Of The World, Hodder & Stoughton
  • Two Generations (with Sir Edmund Hillary), Hodder & Stoughton
  • Rimo: Mountain on the Silk, Road Hodder & Stoughton
  • Bridgit Was Bored, [children’s story] Hodder & Stoughton
  • In the Name of the Father, Qantas Inflight Magazine, 1995
  • Everest Is Mighty, We Are Fragile, New York Times, 25 May, 1996
  • In the Ghost Country, Simon & Schuster, to be published in 2003

Outdoor equipment involvement

(includes design, field-testing and promotion)

• Arthur Ellis & Co., Christchurch, New Zealand
• American Recreation Products, St Louis, Missouri, USA

Biographical Information

Peter Hillary was born in Auckland in 1954. He is the son of Sir Edmund and Lady Louise Hillary. He is married and has four children

The Hillary Difference

What are the key differences Peter Hillary can provide in his presentations compared to other Everest climbers and adventurers on the speaking circuit?

1. An historic Everest connection: >From his father, Sir Edmund Hillary’s, first ascent of the mountain in 1953 through to Peter’s own climbs to the summit in 1990 and 2002.

Peter and Sir Edmund Hillary are the first two generations of one family to climb the world’s highest peak.

2. Philanthropy & Generosity: Giving something back to the people who provided assistance to the Hillarys on their climbs. Sir Edmund and the Hillary family has built and run 42 schools, hospitals and medical clinics among the subsistence farming villages at the foot of Everest. Nepal is one of the three poorest countries in the world.

To pursue your own goals is great, but it is even greater to help others reach theirs.

3. High Drama & Survival on K2: the world’s second highest mountain. Six men and one women died in a furious storm on K2. Of those on the summit pyramid that day only Hillary survived.

Peter is a survivor. His is a message of trusting yourself and your intuition.

4. Passion for Life and Challenges: Peter Hillary has experienced 39 expeditions and alpine seasons. including to the North Pole in small aircraft with Neil Armstrong and Ed Hillary and in 1999 skiing a new route 1500 kilometres across Antarctica to the South Pole.

Peter Hillary lives life with an adventurous attitude.

5. The Hillary Formula: Peter clearly identifies attributes that propel the audience towards their own summits and successes.

Peter Hillary’s formula stresses: never lose sight of where you want to go; be focused, be passionate, learn to be self-reliant, have fun, demonstrate your integrity, show your generosity, use your judgement & intuition, be a survivor. Peter believes that “uncertainty = excitement.”

That’s the Hillary Difference.


Peter Hillary tailors each presentation to meet the client’s requirements. He delivers the ultimate motivational message from his lifetime of creating and facing challenges. Peter can also provide a more light-hearted, after-dsinner presentation, with just the right blend of humour, suspense and excitement. The following three presentations are among his most popular.

Climb Your Own Everest:

Hillary’s 10 Steps to the Summit of the World
1. Nothing ventured; nothing gained
2. Challenge = uncertainty = excitement
3. Fear makes you focus
4. Passion gives you confidence
5. Fun makes for a great team
6. Make sure you have more than one thing to live for
7. Resist the “flock factor”
8. “You are all you have”
9. Great challenges result in powerful experiences
10. A View from the new horizons

This is an inspirational presentation with many entertaining stories, woven around the principles that helped put the first father and son on top of the world. Ideal as a motivational address or as an after-dinner speech.

To the Ends of the Earth
An extraordinary 15-year quest that led Peter Hillary to the North Pole, the South Pole, and the summit of Everest: The Dream, The Drive and the Dedication to the Goal.

  • Turning dreams into reality
  • Persistence and Perseverance
  • The importance of the People Factor
  • Dealing with tension and conflict in the team
  • Living outside your comfort zone for long periods of time
  • Seeking out and rejoicing in the beauty of our world
  • Setting new goals once you’ve achieved the dream.

This is a keynote address that’s inspirational and entertaining. It’s about goal-setting, problem solving and never losing sight of where you want to go.

K2 Crisis: Survive… and Thrive
A story of those who died – and those who survived – on K2, the world’s most savage mountain. Because surviving is the name of the game.

  • The secrets of surviving against the odds
  • Listening to your inner wisdom
  • Balancing risk with caution
  • Judging the situation for yourself
  • Becoming truly self-reliant
  • Learning from your mistakes
  • Life is the story of your challenges and what you learned from them

It doesn’t matter whether it is surviving a storm on a mountain or getting your team safely through a crisis; if you survive, you live to play another day, and you will be all the stronger for the experience. This is a very powerful story that will leave your audience breathless


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