We were interested to learn from the Earth’s most extreme summit , that Mount Everest, (29,035 feet or 8,850 metres) had in June been conquered for a record 19 times.
On Wednesday, June 10, Apa Sherpa reached the summit of Everest, for his 19th time—more than anyone else in the world. The 49-year-old Sherpa, originally from the village of Thame in Nepal and a resident of Salt Lake City since 2006, has climbed Everest for eight straight years and 19 of the last 20 years.
Apa also carried a sacred two-pound vase, called a Bhumpa, to the summit. The high monk Ngawang Tenzin Zangpo, Rinpoche of the monastery of Tengboche below the mountain, asked Apa to take the Bhumpa, which was filled with 400 different ingredients, relics, plants, and elements, to the summit as an offering to Chomolangma, Mother Goddess of the World, to protect humanity and help deal with climate change.
A wonderful achievement and we send Apa laudable messages of respect – and so we started thinking about these extraordinary people – the Sherpas. We googled them and found this fascinating article – thanks to www.mounteverest.net – from which we have made a precis.
‘Sherpas are the inhabitants of the Khumbu-valley, the national park surrounding Everest. Living at altitude for generations, they have developed a genetic natural allowance for it. If you are well trained yourself, you might find in Kathmandu that the Sherpas do substantially fewer push-ups than you do. Don’t get too excited. Once you go above 3,000 metres/10,000 ft most of them will easily outrun you. Their natural advantage is strongest up to 8,000-metres/23,000 ft, there after they too will face problems. Most sherpas will consequently require oxygen above camp 4 in order to perform at their best…………….
Since Sherpas are stronger than us at altitude, they are very well suited for alpine style expeditions in the Himalayas. You will need them to carry the oxygen, the gear and as a safety on the summit push. Many “solo” climbers actually bring sherpas with them all the way up.’
The summitting of Everest is without doubt an extrem feat, but to do that 19 times – well – is there a word beyond extreme?
Apa Sherpa photographed in May 2009 shortly before he achieved his record 19th summit of Mount Everest.
UPDATE – July 2010
Now, a year later, Apa Sherpa has been up Everest once more – an achievement that will be hard for anyone to match let alone beat – a record 20 times! Our heartfelt congratulations.