Hillary's ashes to be scattered on top of Mount Everest

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A Nepali sherpa will scatter the ashes of Sir Edmund Hillary on top of Mount Everest more than two years after the death of the climbing hero.

Sir Edmund, who climbed Everest in 1953 along with Nepal's Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, died in 2008 at the age of 88 in New Zealand.

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 lain in a monastery in the sherpa village of Thame, in the shadows of the mountain, for the past two years.

"I will carry the ashes to the top of Mount Everest as per Hillary's wishes," said Apa Sherpa.

"I met Hillary many times, he was a wonderful man who helped so many local people.

"Without him we would have no clinics, and we would have no schools. So I am very happy to take his ashes with me to the summit."

Sir Edmund opened the Himalayan Trust in 1960 to help build schools, hospitals, an airport and pipelines in the remote Solukhumbu district, home to Mount Everest and the Sherpas known for their climbing skills.

Apa Sherpa is trying to make his 20th ascent of the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) mountain this summer.

He already holds the record for the most successful Everest ascents, said he would also carry a small statue of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, to the summit to pray for the "eternal piece" of Sir Edmund's soul.

Apa is leading an expedition to clean up Everest, which activists say is littered with the detritus of past expeditions, including human waste and mountaineers' corpses, which do not decompose because of the extreme cold.

The 17-member Eco Everest Expedition team will set off from Kathmandu on April 6 and hopes to bring seven tonnes of rubbish down to Base Camp, where it will be sorted for disposal.

It will be the third such expedition – the first, in 2008, brought down 965 kilos (about a ton) of rubbish, while last year's collected six tonnes, including the wreckage of an Italian army helicopter that crashed on the mountain in 1973.

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