Kathmandu. This a city where the strangest of things happen. I have learned to expect the unexpected here. I really have. I was taking tea late this afternoon with Prabha-ji and her husband Yadab in a very nice Tea House.
Prabha and Yadab are smart, delightful and very giving Nepalese Professionals. I have met with them now a few times. Prabha spends all her time working with children and schools and education in Kathmandu. Yadab is a Micro-Banker. They are the proud parents of two daughters and they are very good people. Nepal is all the better for them.
During our Tea Amelia Rose Hillary came in and sat down. She is the Grand-daughter of Sir Edmund Hillary and the daughter of Peter Hillary. Both have climbed to the peak of Mount Everest. Her grandfather was the first person to do so. Sir Edmund's guide and companion to the peak was Tenzing Norgay. He was of the Sherpa Nepalese people. The Hillary's are New Zealanders. They are Kiwis.
The Nepalese call the mountain Sagarmatha and the Tibetans name it Chomolunga. It is the top of the World.
Prabha-ji knew Amelia Rose Hillary so we were introduced. We were the only non-Nepalese in the Tea House.
I suggested almost immediately to Amelia that there must be some burden with the fame of the name Hillary – not only in Nepal but anywhere in the world really. Especially in Nepal though. Amelia agreed that it was. She told me there was also Responsibility. Great and significant Responsibility. The Hillary family have reached lofty heights and their footprint is heavy in Nepal. I think that being a Hillary must at times feel like a weighty load.
Amelia told me she has been visiting Nepal since before she could walk. She informed me that her father and her grandfather before him had always had a connection to the mountains and with the Mountain people. This connection is deep and it is timeless too. Amelia was born with this Bond. She was born into it.
With some things love is inherited.
Amelia now heads the Hillary Rose Trust. The Trust builds schools and infrastructure in remote parts of the mountains and they have been doing this for more than fifty years. Amelia is continuing the legacy of her grandfather.
I asked Amelia whether she was going to climb it – Sagarmatha – Everest - like her father and grandfather had. I knew the question might be very personal but for me it was the immediate elephant in the room. It was irresistible and it had to be asked.
I couldn't help myself.
She hesitated a bit when she answered but she told me that she thought she would. I can only imagine the pressure there would be.
To climb it.
Or perhaps not to climb it.
She is a Climber though. Amelia told me that she thought that climbing must be in her blood. I have seen these mountains. As much bravery as skill is required to scale so high and perhaps some madness too.
To me it is impossible. It is unthinkable. So I think that it must be - in the blood that is. I told Amelia this.
I am going up into the mountains tomorrow, just for a couple of days. Not to climb any! I will be driven most of the way. It is going to be of a bit bumpy and dusty ride and I it will be very cold at night but it will be very nice anyway.
It always is.