Appa Sherpa – Sherpas in Nepal, Mountain Guides
Lhakpa Tenzing comes from Thame which is a village high up in the Himalayan Mountains that is situated near to Mount Everest. He is part of an ethnic group of people called Sherpas who make their home in territory where not much else exists. In fact most other people would only enter this area if they had their mountain climbing gear with them.
Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa or Appa Sherpa, as he is more commonly referred to, is an accomplished man when it comes to climbing mountains. From a young age he was left to care for his mother and his five brothers and sisters after his father – a yak herder – died. He had up until then been attending school but with this huge responsibility on his shoulders it was impossible for him to continue.
His enjoyment for climbing began when he accompanied trekking groups up into the mountains. He would help them with their luggage as a means of making money so that he could provide for his family. A few years later he took on the role of guide and would lead groups of people on treks into mountains like Annapurna and Everest. In 1985 Appa Sherpa had his first taste of climbing. He joined Ehardt Loretan and his group as a kitchen boy when they attempted a climb up and around Annapurna.
Over the next couple of years he joined a number of climbing groups from countries such as Korea, America and Japan as they climbed mountains such as Annapurna and Everest. At this stage Appa Sherpa did not have the experience or the knowledge needed to guide climbing groups all the way to the top of Everest. It was a few years later before Appa had the opportunity to reach the summit of the tallest mountain in the world. Appa Sherpa agreed to join the Kiwi Expedition on the condition that he would be able to visit his wife and two boys first. Three weeks later, on the tenth of May 1990, the group made it to the summit of Mount Everest.
Over the next couple of years Appa Sherpa supported many expeditions from various countries as they each attempted to overcome this daunting mountain. To date Appa Sherpa has made it to the top of Everest seventeen times, a record number of ascents which has been achieved by no one else thus far.