Hillary's ashes set for final ascent

A Nepalese sherpa will scatter the ashes of Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest, on the top of the world, two years after the death of the climbing hero.

Sir Edmund, who completed the first ascent of Everest in 1953 with his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, died in New Zealand in 2008 at the age of 88. He had wished that his ashes be scattered on the mountain and on Auckland's harbour, his former aides said. The ashes destined for Everest have laid in a monastery in the Sherpa village of Thame, in the shadows of the mountain, for two years."I will carry the ashes to the top of Mount Everest as per Hillary's wishes," Apa Sherpa, who is trying to make his 20th ascent of the 8,850m (29,035ft) mountain this summer, told reporters.

Apa, who holds the record for the most successful Everest ascents, said he would also carry a small statue of Lord Buddha to the summit to pray for the "eternal peace" of Hillary's soul. "It is considered very sacred and good for the departed soul," Ang Rita Sherpa, who works for Sir Edmund's Himalayan Trust in Kathmandu, said of the statue.

Sir Edmund opened the Himalayan Trust in 1960 and raised $250,000 (£164,000) annually for schools, hospitals, and an airport in the Solukhumbu district, home to Mount Everest and the sherpas known for their climbing skills.