There is nothing more inspirational than a great
adventure. And the name Hillary is synonymous with adventure. Peter Hillary is
a powerful and dynamic speaker who takes his audience “with him” on one of his
many extraordinary experiences: summiting Mt Everest, feeding and filming a pod
of sharks, or making a terrifying descent of a vast vertical rock face in a vicious
He ably connects these dramatic achievements to the challenges faced by individuals and teams striving for excellence in their own fields.
Like his father, Sir Edmund Hillary, Peter has climbed Mt Everest and has reached the South Pole overland; widely recognised as two of the most significant accomplishments in the world of adventuring and exploration. He has a wealth of stories to tell from a lifetime of high adventure, including over 30 alpine expeditions on mountains throughout the world.
Despite the high-risk nature of his expeditions, it is often acknowledged that one of his greatest strengths is his sound judgement: he has mastered the art of balancing risk with caution; stretching boundaries, but knowing limits.
His presentations combine humor and heart-stopping excitement with practical applications, relevant to the client’s requirements. They are supported by superb slide and video footage.
To commemorate his father’s achievement, Peter Hillary recently climbed to the summit of the world’s highest mountain on a National Geographic sponsored expedition. The story of that expedition—and of the intervening years since the first climb in 1953, is retold in National Geographic’s big film of the year, Surviving Everest. Peter first climbed Mount Everest in 1990, at which time he and Sir Edmund became the first father and son to have accomplished this pinnacle of adventuring achievement. They are also the first two generations of one family to have reached the South Pole overland from the Antarctic Coast. Both of them established new routes to the South Pole.
Other notable achievements from Peter Hillary’s lifetime of high adventure include:
- Over 38 mountaineering expeditions including Everest West Ridge, Makalu West Pillar, Mt Vinson, Aconcagua, Lhotse, Amadablam and Carstenz Pyramid.
- Surviving the storm on K2: In 1995 Peter Hillary turned his back on a climb of the world’s second highest mountain, the notorious K2. He was just a few hundred metres from the summit. He survived, but the storm claimed the lives of seven others he’d been climbing with.
- Landing small aircraft at the North Pole with Sir Edmund and astronaut Neil Armstrong.
- The first ski descent of Mt Aspiring: the Matterhorn of the Southern Hemisphere.
- The first high-altitude traverse of the Himalayan Range, 1981: a 3000 mile/5000 kms route from Mt Kanchenjunga in Sikkim through Nepal and India to K2 in Pakistan.
- From the ‘Ocean to the Sky’: jetboating up the sacred Ganges river with his father in 1977, from the Sundarbunds in the Bay of Bengal to high in the Himalayas near Badrinath, where they made first ascents of Mount Nar Parbat and Mount Akash Parbat.
- Shark frenzies in the Coral Sea: feeding and filming sharks with Ron and Valerie Taylor at the Osprey Reef 200 kms off the north Queensland coast.
Peter is an adventure travel operator and guide specialising in the Himalayas and Antarctica. He guided Qantas CEO James Strong on Mt Vinson in Antarctica and entrepreneur Dick Smith up Carstenz Pyramid in Irian Jaya. He holds a commercial pilot’s license for fixed wing aircraft. He also works as a professional public speaker and writer. He is the author of four mountaineering books and one children’s book with a sixth book due for publication in New York in late 2003; he writes magazine articles, works on outdoor equipment design and marketing for Fairydown Adventure, the same company that equipped his father and Tenzing in 1953.
Peter has featured extensively on television including two interviews on Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, countless major radio programs and print media such as The New York Times and Parade Magazine. He has appeared in numerous documentaries, including the recent National Geographic feature, Surviving Everest, in 2003.
Peter is a member of the Himalayan Trust, an organisation founded by his father to assist the local people of the Mount Everest region, where they have built and run 42 schools, hospitals and medical clinics. Since 1992, Peter has taken over 1,000 teenagers to assist with construction work on some of the Himalayan Trust hospitals and schools and other community projects.
Television, Film and radio
- National Geographic documentary celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the climbing of Mt Everest, premiered April 2003.
- The Late Show with David Letterman – In-studio interview in New York with David Letterman
- Good Morning America – Two interviews; one live via satellite from Scott Base, Antarctica; the other an in-studio New York appearance.
- Up Close and Personal – Feature interview with Ray Martin, Channel Nine, Australia (two appearances)
- West Matukituki Ramble: Trekking and Climbing in New Zealand's South Island, Parts One and Two produced by Anyplace Wild for PBS
- Sons of the Mountaineers: Trekking and Climbing in New Zealand, Parts One and Two, part of the seriesAnyplace Wild produced by Environmental Recreation Group, Inc in Camden, Maine, aired in most states of the US on PBS during mid-1998
- Everest Expedition video for the Australian Wool Corporation
- The Escape programme for Channel 7, Australia, in 1987 and '88, as a programme presenter
- The Everest Expedition film, 1987
- The Rimo Expedition film, 1986
- India, a personal encounter, 1986
- Filming sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, 1985.
- Return to Everest with the National Geographic, 1980 and 1983.
- From the Ocean to the Sky with Sir Edmund Hillary, 1977
- The Kaipo Wall with Sir Edmund Hillary, 1974
- Numerous other minor documentary films and promotional films; and countless interviews for television and radio in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, including the BBC, NHK and Associated Press.
Cisco; Lucent Technologies; Worcester Foundation, U.S; Mars Confectionery; L.G Philips; Golden Key Society; Qantas Chief Executive’s Club; NZ Tourism Foundation in Germany; Hauser Foundation, Germany; YPO Melbourne; and numerous other appearances for corporations such as IBM, McDonalds, Caltex, Mobil, Shell, The Federal Group, KPMG, Wang, Compaq, Tower, AMP, Andersen’s Consulting, IMAX, Iridium, Telecom, Telstra, and several insurance and financial companies.
Books and Publications
A Sunny day in the Himalayas, Hodder & Stoughton
First Across The Roof Of The World, Hodder & Stoughton
Two Generations (with Sir Edmund Hillary), Hodder & Stoughton
Rimo: Mountain on the Silk, Road Hodder & Stoughton
Bridgit Was Bored, [children's story] Hodder & Stoughton
In the Name of the Father, Qantas Inflight Magazine, 1995
Everest Is Mighty, We Are Fragile, New York Times, 25 May, 1996
In the Ghost Country, Simon & Schuster, to be published in 2003
Watch Peter Hillary's Video