One of the best-known famous Nepalese climbers, Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa, is no longer with us. “We are extremely saddened to express the demise of our managing director”, the company “Highlight Expeditions” announced yesterday on Facebook: “He was one of the top climbers accomplishing 13 out of the 14 x 8000m summits.” The expedition operator did not mention the cause of death. Chhiji Nurbu turned 40 years old. He leaves behind a wife, a son and a daughter.
First eight-thousander success on his home mountain
Chhiji Nurbu was born in 1980 in the region around the eight-thousander Makalu. As a young man he went through the “classic” Sherpa mountaineering career: first porter for expeditions, then Climbing Sherpa and finally Sirdar, head of a Sherpa team. He scaled his first eight-thousander in 2008 at the age of 27: his “home mountain” Makalu. He didn’t use bottled oxygen then, as well as in his next two eight-thousander successes in 2009 and 2010, both on Annapurna.
Five times on Mount Everest
After that, Chhiji Nurbu always used a breathing mask on the eight-thousanders, even on his first ascent of Mount Everest in spring 2011. According to his own account, four more Everest successes followed (in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017) – although the ascent he indicated in spring 2017 is not listed in the mountaineering chronicle Himalayan Database. Chhiji Nurbu summited K2, the second highest mountain on earth in Pakistan, twice: in 2014 and 2018. Only Shishapangma in Tibet was still missing from the Sherpa’s collection of eight-thousanders.
Twice – in 2017 and 2020 – Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa also belonged to the team of the Spaniard Alex Txikon during his failed winter attempts on Mount Everest. In 2017 Chhiji Nurbu reached an altitude of about 8,000 meters, suffering from frostbite on one of his toes.
On Instagram, Chhiji Nurbu posted a list of his successes on the highest mountains of Nepal in early 2019 – with the comment: “This is my climbing bio-data, my identity! My job! My pride!”