More DW Blogs DW.COM

Abenteuer Sport

mit Stefan Nestler

Apa Sherpa: Everest is our greatest treasure

Will Apa Sherpa feel melancholy these days? Climbers from all over the world are arriving at Everest basecamp on the south side of the mountain. Meanwhile the so called „Ice Doctors” have prepared the route through the dangerous Khumbu icefall up to Camp 2 on 6600 metres. The climbing season on the highest mountain of the world is ready to start. For more than two decades Everest was an integral part of Apa’s life. Nobody has reached the top of the world as often as this 1.63 metre tall man: He reached the summit 21 times and became a living legend. In 2011 Apa finished his Everest career. Now he is about 53 years old. He doesn’t know for sure because in the 1960s no birth certificates were issued for Sherpas in his home village Thame in the Everest region.

Committed to education and environment

Apa Sherpa

Since the end of his Everest career Apa has been taking care of his foundation that promotes educational projects in Nepal – and of environmental protection. Last year he trekked together with Dawa Steven Sherpa on the „Great Himalaya Trail” 1555 km from the east to the west of Nepal. It was a campaign to raise awareness to the dangers of global warming for the Himalayas. Apa is also worried about Everest. „Meanwhile, first I want people to respect the mountain and protect it from harm”, Apa writes to me. „Everest belongs to everyone in the world. We need to save it for our future generations too.”

Everest opened doors of opportunity

Apa and Mount Everest (l., with snow banner)

Not only Apa’s life, the lives of all Sherpas are closely linked to Mount Everest. „People know us in the world because of Mount Everest. More importantly, it opened the doors of opportunity for Sherpa people in the rest of the world”, Apa says. „Where we are now is because of Mount Everest. Everest is Nepal’s pride and is our greatest treasure.” On occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest he wishes that „it continues to inspire climbers from all over the world to visit Nepal, dream big and take success all the way to the summit”. (You find Apa’s full statements on the two Everest-60-pinboards on the right side of the blog.)

No eternal record

Apa holding the record certificate

Records are there to be broken. That surely will also happen to Apa’s Everest record, perhaps even this year. Phurba Tashi, often referred to as the „Everest Yak” because of his immense strength at altitude, has already summited Everest 19 times. In 2007 he reached the top three times in one season, in 2011 twice. This spring Phurba, born in the village of Khumjung in 1971, is working for Himalayan Experience as sirdar (head) of the climbing sherpas.

Season’s first fatality 

Before any climber from abroad has set his feet on the normal route the first fatality of the season is reported from Everest. On Sunday 45-year-old Mingmar Sherpa, one of the “Icefall Doctors”, has died after falling into a crevasse below camp 2. RIP.


9. April 2013 | 14:48