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40 EPIC Quotes by Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary is one of the most famous mountaineers in the world. He, alongside his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, were the first men to summit Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. But besides being one of the first men to climb the world’s highest mountain, he is known for his wisdom and inspiration that are often shared through his quotes.

When it comes to mountain quotes, Sir Edmund Hillary is one of the most popular authors. He shares quotes about climbing mountains, about Everest specifically, inspirational mountain quotes, and even some witty and funny ones that make for the perfect mountain caption for your Instagram page!

Personally, I love Sir Edmund Hillary’s quotes – so much so that I decided to write this blog. It’s a collection of my personal 40 favorite quotes by Hillary himself including some original photos and my own interpretations of his quotes. If you love the mountains or are just looking for some great thought-provoking quotes, Sir Edmund Hillary has you covered with the quotes I’ve listed below!

Sir Edmund Hillary Quotes about Mt Everest

"some day I'm going to climb everest" mountain Quote by Sir Edmund Hillary
man standing on a mountain with a quote by Edmund Hillary

Of course, Sir Edmund Hillary is famous because of his climb to the top of Mount Everest. Many of the quotes by Sir Edmund Hillary reference his journey on Everest and you can read my favorites here!

“Some day I’m going to climb Everest.”– Sir Edmund Hillary

“On the summit of Everest, I had a feeling of great satisfaction to be first there.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“No one remembers who climbed Mount Everest the second time.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I have never regarded myself as a hero, but Tenzing undoubtedly was.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Did you know: Tenzing Norgay was Hillary’s Sherpa on his journey to summit Mount Everest. Technically, Tenzing was also one of the first men to climb the mountain, although most people only give credit to Sir Edmund Hillary who has admitted that he couldn’t have done it without Tenzing.

“While on top of Everest, I looked across the valley towards the great peak Makalu and mentally worked out a route about how it could be climbed. It showed me that even though I was standing on top of the world, it wasn’t the end of everything. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges.”– Sir Edmund Hillary

“It’s all bullshit on Everest these days.”– Sir Edmund Hillary

“I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top. They don’t give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress and it doesn’t impress me at all that they leave someone lying under a rock to die.”– Sir Edmund Hillary

“I was scared many times on Everest, but this is all part of the challenge. When I fell down a crevasse, it was pretty scary.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary Quotes about Mountains

lady sitting staring at the mountains with quote about mountaineering
It’s-not-the-mountain-we-conquer-but-ourselves-quotes-9

Sir Edmund Hillary is known for some very popular mountain quotes. Below are some of his best!

“Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“The Sherpas play a very important role in most mountaineering expeditions, and in fact many of them lead along the ridges and up to the summit.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Did you know: Hillary always gave credit to his Sherpas and was very humble when acknowledging the important part they play in most mountaineer expeditions.

“If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I think the really good mountaineer is the man with the technical ability of the professional and with the enthusiasm and freshness of approach of the amateur.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I think I mainly climb mountains because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I never attempt to analyze these things too thoroughly, but I think that all mountaineers do get a great deal of satisfaction out of overcoming some challenge which they think is very difficult for them, or which perhaps may be a little dangerous.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I will come again and conquer you because as a mountain you can’t grow, but as a human, I can.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Quote interpretation: This is one of my favorite short mountain quotes by Sir Edmund Hillary. To me, this quote reminds us that even if we fail, we can grow and become successful in the future.

“Life’s a bit like mountaineering – never look down.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I think that a good mountaineer is usually a sensible mountaineer.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“When you’re climbing at high altitudes, life can get pretty miserable.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“Despite all I have seen and experienced, I still get the same simple thrill out of glimpsing a tiny patch of snow in a high mountain gully and feel the same urge to climb towards it.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Quote Interpretation: If you’ve ever climbed a mountain you’ll know it is both physically and mentally challenging, and this Sir Edmund Hillary Quote reminds us that by reaching the top we conquer the biggest challenge – which is actually the factors within ourselves. That’s why climbing a mountain brings such a great feeling of accomplishment!

“When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Inspirational Sir Edmund Hillary Quotes

"i think it all comes down to motivation" qupote by Sir Edmund Hillary over a photo of a woman rock climbing
"you wont this time" mountain quote by Sir Edmund Hillary over a photo of a person staring at a mountain

Let’s face it, inspirational mountain quotes are the best! Most of them actually use mountains as a metaphor for life’s greatest challenges. These next few quotes by Sir Edmund Hillary are meant to motivate and inspire you. They should also spark a bit of an internal conversation as you decode any metaphor and what each quote means to you. I’ve included a few of my personal quote interpretations too. Quotes are personal and although my interpretations may not be correct to you, I think it is interesting to learn how certain quotes speak to different people. Enjoy!

“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“You won, this time. But you are as big as you are ever going to get. And I’m still growing.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Quote Interpretation: Because this quote is by Sir Edmund Hillary, I feel like he is directly speaking about a mountain. He has another popular quote that says “I will come again and conquer you because as a mountain you can’t grow, but as a human, I can” which I think is an extension of the above quote. The idea is that a mountain is as big as it will ever get, but people can continue to push themselves and grow big enough to conquer the mountain one day.

“Motivation is the single most important factor in any sort of success.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I’m sure the feeling of fear, as long as you can take advantage of it and not be rendered useless by it, can make you extend yourself beyond what you would regard as your capacity. If you’re afraid, the blood seems to flow freely through the veins, and you really do feel a sense of stimulation.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“Adventuring can be for the ordinary person with ordinary qualities, such as I regard myself.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Quote Interpretation: To me, this quote is simple and quite obvious. However, because Sir Edmund Hillary said it, I automatically relate it back to him summitting Mount Everest – which is a huge accomplishment! This backstory makes the quote so much more powerful and inspirational to me.

“Becoming a ‘Sir’ is slightly uncomfortable at first, although it is a considerable honor. It is amazing how quickly you become accustomed to it.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I have discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Personal Sir Edmund Hillary Quotes

"I hate being called an icon" quote by Sir Edmund Hillary with a woman standing on a mountain picture
"Environmental problem" qupte by Sir Edmunh Hillary caption with a photo of a mountain valley

Sir Edmund Hillary isn’t all about mountains. Part of the reason he is so loved is because of his humility and how relatable he is. Some of Hillary’s most popular quotes are those about him as a person and his childhood and life. These quotes are likely a little different than the mountain quotes you normally see by Sir Edmund Hillary, but I think they are just as equally important when coming up with a comprehensive collection of the best Sir Edmund Hillary quotes.

“As a youngster I was a great dreamer, reading many books of adventure and walking lonely miles with my head in the clouds.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I hate being called an ‘icon.’ I just don’t like it. That’s all there is to it.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“I am a lucky man. I have had a dream and it has come true, and that is not a thing that happens often to men.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Quote Interpretation: I believe that this quote is referring to him conquering Mount Everest. This quote also shows how humble Sir Edmund Hillary is and how much gratitude he has.

“Becoming a ‘Sir’ is slightly uncomfortable at first, although it is a considerable honor. It is amazing how quickly you become accustomed to it.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“When I was 50 years old, I actually decided to draw up a list of half a dozen things that I really hadn’t done very well, and I was going to make efforts to improve. One of them was skiing, and I really did become a very much better skier.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Quote Interpretation: I love that this quote is about being an older person and making lists to improve. I think that often we make these types of lists when we are in our 20’s, but forget that you can do this at 50 too!

“I was extremely lucky that I had two great wives. It sounds a bit funny to say that, but it’s absolutely true.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

“Environmental problems are really social problems anyway. They begin with people as the cause and end with people as the victims.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Find more quotes…

The written word is my thing! On this blog, you’ll find tons of amazing quotes to inspire and ignite thought-provoking conversations. Check out all of my blogs about mountain quotes for more!

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