Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 16:17 UK

Edmund Hillary ashes 'to be spread on Everest summit'

Apa Sherpa
Apa Sherpa has climbed Everest more times than anyone else

A Nepalese mountaineer has announced he will scatter the ashes of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary at Mount Everest's peak.

Apa Sherpa, who is attempting a world-record 20th ascent of Everest, said he wanted to honour the New Zealander, who reached the peak in 1953.

Sir Edmund died in 2008 and some of his ashes were spread in Auckland harbour.

Apa said the rest of the ashes had been stored at a Buddhist monastery in eastern Nepal, and he would take them on his expedition starting on 6 April.

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, in 1953
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit in 1953

Sir Edmund reached the summit alongside Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, and kept strong ties with the Sherpa community.

He opened a charitable foundation to help the people in the Solukhumbu region at the base of Everest.

Apa, 50, said he had met Sir Edmund many times and would pray for him at the summit.

"Without him we would have no clinics, and we would have no schools," he said.

"So I am very happy to take his ashes with me to the summit."

Apa's 19 successful climbs already constitute a world record for the greatest number of ascents of the 8,847m (29,028ft) peak.

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