KATHMANDU, Nepal, April 1 (UPI) -- Some of the ashes of Edmund Hillary were given Thursday to a climber set to take them to the summit of Mount Everest this year.
Ang Rita Sherpa, head of the Himalayan Trust, gave the ashes to Apa Sherpa at a ceremony in Kathmandu, The Times of India reported. Apa Sherpa plans to make his 20th climb to the summit of the world's highest mountain as leader of the Eco Everest expedition.
Hillary, a beekeeper from Auckland, New Zealand, became an international celebrity in 1953 when he and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa reached the Everest summit. Hillary had said he wished some of his ashes to be scattered in Auckland Harbor and some in the Khumbu, the area around Everest.
Apa Sherpa plans to leave the ashes with a small golden statue of the Buddha donated by the Khunde Monastery in Solukhumbu. Monks there have been praying for Hillary since he died Jan. 11, 2008.
"The Sherpas of Solukhumbu remember Sir Edmund not just because he summited Mount Everest but because he uplifted them through his projects for education and health," Ang Rita Sherpa said. "We will try to discharge his debt and pray for peace for his soul."