Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 17:36 UK

Sherpas cancel plan to spread Hillary ashes on Everest

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, in 1953
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to climb Everest

A plan to scatter some of the ashes of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary at the peak of Mount Everest has been called off.

Buddhist lamas had warned it would bring bad luck, so the Sherpas behind the plan said the ashes instead would be kept at a monastery near Everest.

The world's highest mountain is considered sacred to the Buddhist Sherpas who live in the region.

Sir Edmund climbed Everest in 1953 and after his death in 2008 most of his ashes were spread in Auckland harbour.

The rest were given to the Sherpa community.

Possible precedent

Apa Sherpa, who has scaled Everest a record 19 times - and is planning a 20th attempt - had wanted to honour the New Zealander by spreading his ashes at the summit.

The organisers of Apa's expedition said they decided against the plan after a committee of Sherpas, including Buddhist lamas, advised against it.

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

"The old lamas said that it would be inauspicious to take the ashes to a holy place," said expedition organiser Dawa Steven Sherpa.

"There were also concerns that placing Hillary's ashes on the summit could set a precedent, with other people wanting their ashes also to be scattered there," he told AFP news agency.

Sir Edmund's ashes will remain at a monastery near Everest where they have been kept since being transferred to Nepal.

There are plans to scatter them in a park that is being built to commemorate the mountaineer.

He and the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the the 8,847m (29,028ft) peak of Everest and the New Zealander kept strong ties with the Sherpa community.

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

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.

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ITN Hillary's ashes won't be scattered on Everest - 50 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald Bad luck, Hillary won't Everest in peace - 52 hrs ago
France24 Lamas axe plan to scatter Hillary's ashes on Everest - 53 hrs ago
Indian Express Hillary's ashes won't be scattered on Mount Everest - 53 hrs ago
IOL Sherpa to keep Hillary's ashes - 53 hrs ago

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