In our celebrity-obsessed era, Sir Hillary’s modesty seems a throwback to a much earlier time. He was self-depreciating, always claiming he was just an average bloke, never the smartest nor the best technical climber of his day. He however, possessed guts, an indomitable will and common sense. He was also known for treating those around him with courtesy and decency. In fact, he only admitted to being the first to reach the summit after the death of his climbing companion, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, in 1986.
At the first link to the Guardian article, Tim Watkin calls Sir Edmund Hillary "the last of the true heroes", and says "Hillary's true heroism was shown not on the summit 55 years ago, but years later in the Himalayan foothills, when he raised money to build schools, clinics, hospitals, bridges and airfields."
The webpage of the other Guardian article has a documentary (filmed after the successful Everest expedition).
At the 2"10 minute mark, you hear Sir Edmund Hillary explain how he was saved by Tenzing from falling too deeply into a crevice.
The High Browse Online blog post lists two books on Sir Edmund’s historic scaling of Mount Everest, and also two books about Singapore's Mount Everest attempt.