The world’s most renowned Sherpa talks Mt. Everest

Posted: May 6, 2014 by kirisyko in Climbing, High altitude mountaineering
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Apa Sherpa climbs the Himalayan mountains on the way to the Tsho Rolpa Glacier Lake in Nepal. (The Great Himalayan Trail via AP)

Apa Sherpa climbs the Himalayan mountains on the way to the Tsho Rolpa Glacier Lake in Nepal. (The Great Himalayan Trail via AP)

No human knows Mount Everest as well as Apa Sherpa.

That’s because no man has climbed the mountain as many times as Apa has, for which he even got a nickname — Super Sherpa. Three years ago, he extended his own world record by making 21 successful ascents to the highest point on Earth. Since 1990, Apa has climbed Everest every year except 1996 and 2001, scaling the summit twice in 1992.

After the avalanche on Everest that killed more than a dozen Nepali mountaineering guides last month, Apa says the Everest should be left alone. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, he said that the mountain needs to rest and that people can always try climbing it next year.

We asked Apa six questions on his ascent to the summit, the challenges that mountaineers face and why Nepal’s government and the mountaineering community should pay attention to the Sherpas’ plight.

Washington Post: What made you keep wanting to go back to Everest?

Apa Sherpa: Climbing the Everest is a routine for Sherpas like me. We are way behind in education. There are no other options to meet our most basic of ends. So, regardless of all the risks involved in climbing the mountain, the Sherpas do it. It was same in my case as well. People climb Everest once in a lifetime to experience the adventure. Things are different for us. We keep on climbing more than once because we have to do it.

I climbed the Everest the first 16 times to support my family. I took my children to the United States for their education. However, besides my need to support the family, I wanted to do something for the country. So I collected funds in America under the Apa Sherpa Foundation and in Nepal under Eco Everest Expedition. After this, I increased the number of my expeditions from 16 to 21. In 2008, I started a campaign to encourage the climbers to bring back their wastes along with them. I retired after I climbed for the 21st time. Since then, I have been working under my foundation in the education, health and environment sectors. My heart aches when Sherpas, who carry luggage twice their own weight, lose their lives.

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