21 Incredible Ascents of Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa has summited Mount Everest a world record setting twenty one times. Now, he is out to conquer new challenges. Since 2009, he has divided his time between climbing the world’s highest peak and the Apa Sherpa Foundation: an organization dedicated to the educational and economic advancement of Nepal.

Apa hales from the tiny mountain village of Thame, Nepal. Thame has given life to some of the worlds greatest mountaineers. The remote locale, for example, was home to Tenzing Norgay who, with Sir Edmund Hillary, were the first people to summit Everest. The people of the region are often employed as expedition guides throughout the Himalayas. A Sherpa can make around eight thousand dollars, more than ten times the average wage in Nepal but this is dangerous, often deadly work.

In 2014, for instance, 16 Sherpa guides perished in an avalanche while ascending Everest. While Apa shares a passion for mountaineering with many across the world, he also understands that for some Himalayan people, mountaineering is often the only alternative to meager and difficult farming on the Himalayan plateau. He explains that his first sixteen summits of the peak were to support his family. The Sherpa people do not currently have a written language and access to education is limited, forcing many to leave their traditional homes. Because of this, the Apa Sherpa’s foundation has now built a school in Thame and they are seeking to create economic opportunities for people in the region.

Although the Apa Sherpa Foundation is his primary cause, Apa is no stranger to causes. He has been vocal about global climate change and the environment. In 2009 he was part of the Eco Everest expedition. Upon summiting the mountain, the expedition goers unfurled a banner at its peak that said stop climate change, and then proceeded to removed five tonnes of mountain trash, including parts of a crashed helicopter. In addition to this, in 2012, he participated in the Climate Smart Celebrity Trek with some of world’s top climbers to help raise awareness of climate change. There are fears that due to climate change, climbs of Everest will continually get more dangerous making this issue of great importance to Apa and the Sherpa people.

Apa Sherpa continues to champion this rugged region and its peoples. In April of 2015 Apa Sherpa will guide a trek around the Everest Region in Nepal. More information can be found here.

Photo Courtesy of Apa Sherpa Foundation