After two years at college, Hillary dropped out and went to work for his father as a bee-keeper. This rigorous work strengthened his body, but left him bored. In 1942, Hillary became an air-force navigator in the military. He was 23 years old. Hillary ventured into the mountains and hiked the rocky summits.
In 1951, Hillary was invited to join a New Zealand climbing team that trekked in the Himalayan Mountains. Later, he was chosen for an Everest exploration team led by his old hero, Eric Shipton. Hillary's great energy and mountaineering skills won him a spot on the 1953 British Everest expedition team. The British had been trying for nearly 40 years to be the first to scale the world's highest mountain. Finally, on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first two men to stand on top of the world. To learn more about their adventure take our interactive trek that recreates the historic expedition.
Can you find Hillary in this photo? He's in the second row, the second man in from the left. Norgay is sitting in the first row, the second man from the right.