“The Everest record means nothing to me”
Phurba Tashi is a man of few words. The 45-year-old replies friendly but shortly. “This year, I will definitely not climb Mount Everest”, Phurba tells me when we sit down for a few minutes on a bench in front of his “Tashi Friendship Lodge” in the village of Khumjung. Actually, he has no time to talk to me because his family has gathered for a religious ceremony to commemorate Phurba’s parents who both died in the past six months. Some Buddhist monks have come to his Lodge. “The death of my parents is also the reason why I renounce the ascent this time,” says Phurba.
Only at Base Camp
He has reached the highest point on earth already 21 times. Together with Apa Sherpa (who has long since ended his mountain career), Phurba Tashi is holding the record for the most Everest ascents ever. Aged 28, he was on top for the first time, in 2013 for the last time to date. In some seasons Phurba ascended Everest double or even triple. This spring, he will stay at Base Camp to coordinate the work of the Climbing Sherpas – for the New Zealand expedition operator Himalayan Experience. “I have already worked for Russell Brice, head of Himex, on 30 to 40 expeditions,” says Phurba, adding that this spring the team consists of only six clients.
Black year does not apply to climbers
“I think that there will be summit successes this season,” says Phurba. “This winter we had little snow. And the Icefall Doctors do a good job.” The Buddhist lamas predicted a bad year for the Sherpas, but that does not apply to climbers, Phurba continues: “Maybe I try to ascend again in 2017 – if everything fits together.” I want to know whether he is itching to be the exclusive Everest record holder. “No, the record means nothing to me,” Phurba replies. “It is much more important to come down healthy again. Finally, I have a wife and five children, I have to feed them.” Then Phurba Tashi says goodbye. He has to return to his family. When a short time later one of the monks comes to fresh air, I ask him if the predicted black year for the Sherpas really does not apply to climbers. The monk laughs and says: “Everything is good. They are welcome to climb up.”
Coconut with hair
In Khumjung, I also marvelled the famous “Yeti skull”. It is stored in a safe in the Gompa, the small monastery of the village. For 250 rupees (about 2.50 euros) an old employee of the Gompa, who powers the keys, opens the safe for a moment. And there it is, next a few butter lamps: the supposed skull of the alleged Himalayan monster – and looks rather like a coconut with hair. 😉
P.S.: Maybe I won’t send any reports for a few days. I want to trek to the 5380-meter-high Gokyo Ri to enjoy the magnificent panorama – if the weather is good. Then, of course, I will show you some nice pictures. 🙂
Date18. March 2016 | 15:00
TagsApa Sherpa, Himalayan Experience, Khumjung, Mount Everest, Phurba Tashi, record, Tashi Friendship Lodge, Yeti skull