The Sherpas’s ability to forget
“I don’t have any ambitions to climb Mount Everest,” says Ang Dorjee Sherpa. “Too dangerous! Finally, I have a wife and three children.” However, the 47-year-old was a member of Everest expeditions twice. At the end of 1991, Ang Dorjee worked as “Mail Man” for a Japanese expedition who wanted to climb the mighty Southwest Face for the first time in winter. The Sherpa brought the news of the failure at 8,350 meters as “postal runner” into the valley. Two years later the Japanese were back again – and successfully: A total of six climbers reached the summit on a partially new route, the first team on 18 December 1993. The first ascent of the wall in (meteorological, not calendrical) winter was done. That time, Ang Dorjee did not play the postman, but worked as a cook for the Japanese.
Again and again, Japan
To date, the Sherpa has a special relationship with Japanese mountaineers. In the guest room of his “AD Friendship Lodge” in Namche Bazaar at 3440 meters photos are hanging on the wall showing Ang Dorjee with Junko Tabei, the first woman on the Everest, or even with Uchiro Miura, who was, aged 80, the oldest man ever to climb Everest. For several years Ang Dorjee also worked in summer for three months as a cook at a Japanese mountain lodge. And many of the trekking groups he is nowadays guiding through the impressive mountains of Nepal, are from Japan.
Accustomed to earthquakes
During the devastating earthquake on 25 April 2015, Ang Dorjee was in Kathmandu to make final preparations for a Japanese travel group. “The Japanese did not even want to leave after the quake. They were accustomed to shocks from their home. But I sent them home. Their safety was for me more important than the money.” In Namche Bazaar, fortunately there was hardly no damage, says Ang Dorjee. adding that in the region the two villages Thame and Khumjung were hit, “especially the houses that had been built in the traditional way.” His own Lodge got only a small crack in the back wall. “Nothing bad!”
Icefall Doctors are making good progress
For this spring season, Ang Dorjee is somewhere between slightly skeptical and cautiously optimistic. “But in spring even more climbers from expeditions arrive than trekkers. For us, fall is almost more important because it’s the main trekking season.” The Sherpa expects for the climbers who will come to Namche in the next few weeks a good summit chance to reach the summit. “I heard that the Icefall Doctors have already made good progress in preparing the route,” says Ang Dorjee. When I ask him about the mood among the Sherpas – after two years of deadly avalanches and without summit successes on the Nepalese side of Everest – Ang Dorjee smiles: “No matter how bad it is, we Sherpas are very good at forgetting and restarting.”
Date17. March 2016 | 15:07
TagsAD Friendship Lodge, Ang Dorjee Sherpa, Earthquake, Mount Everest, Namche Bazaar, Nepal, Southwest Face