Ang Tshering Sherpa: Endangered Everest
Ang Tshering’s biography can be assumed to be symbolic of the success story of the Sherpas in the past six decades. He was born in 1953, half a year after the first ascent of Mount Everest. In his home village Khumjung, on 3780 metres near the highest mountain of the world, Ang Tshering attended the school that was founded by Sir Edmund Hillary. The English skills which he had aquired there enabled him to work as a porter and interpreter for expeditions. In 1982 Ang Tshering founded „Asian Trekking”, today one of the leading agencies for expeditions and trekkings in Nepal. He married a Belgian woman, his son Dawa Steven studied in Scotland. Ang Tshering was and is not only a successful businessman with best worldwide contacts but has always been engaging for mountaineers. Since 1990 he is a member of the executive board of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, for nine years he was the president of the organization. In addition the 59-year-old Nepalese is the Immediate Past President of the Union of Asian Alpine Associations (UAAA) and Honorary Member of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA). „Everest has put Nepal on the map as an ultimate (adventure) tourism destination”, Ang Tshering wrote to me after I had asked him for his thoughts about Everest on occasion of the 60-year-jubilee of the first ascent.
Threatened by the effects of climate change
„Everest is regarded as a Goddess Mother of the Universe in Sherpa folklore. She is the guardian in who’s shadow sherpa children grow up. We think of Everest as massive, solid, unchanging, strong, lofty and unable to be hurt.” But according to Ang Tshering the truth is that only few people know that Everest is one of the most endangered places on earth due to the effects of climate change. „There are over 3000 glaciers in the high Himalaya and in the last 50 years, almost as many glacial lakes have formed.” This urgent message has been less immediately noticed at lower altitudes, Ang Tshering says.
Eco Everest expeditions
Since 2008 Ang Tshering and his son Dawa Steven organize the so called „Eco Everest expeditions” of Asian Trekking. The goal is that the mountaineers do not only reach the summit but also carry down garbage from the slopes of Everest on their way back. „It is the entire world’s responsibility to help conserve the mountain and its surroundings from environmental degradation. We need to respect and protect Mother Nature’s treasures”, Ang Tshering writes. (You find his full statements on the two Everest-60-pinboards on the right side of the blog.)
Only with Mother Nature’s blessing
On occasion of the diamond jubilee of the first ascent Ang Tshering wishes Mount Everest, that it „continues to keep inspiring people to explore their boundaries and push their limits, all the while realizing that only with Mother Nature’s blessing do we reach the top.” He himself has not stood on top of the world. In 1977 Ang Tshering Sherpa reached the South Col on nearly 8000 metres. But weather turned bad and he couldn’t reach the summit.
Date23. April 2013 | 10:00
Tags60-year-jubilee, Ang Tshering Sherpa, Asian Trekking, climate change, Dawa Steven, Eco Everest expeditions, Mount Everest