Mourning for the three Sherpas missing on Mount Everest


There is still no trace of the three Sherpas from the team of the expedition operator Imagine Nepal, who have been missing since the collapse of a serac in the Khumbu Icefall this Wednesday. The search for them has been unsuccessful so far. There is no longer any hope that they can be recovered alive from the ice masses. The authorities therefore declared Da Chhiri Sherpa, Pemba Tenzing Sherpa and Lakpa Rita Sherpa dead. The best known of the three missing in the mountaineering scene is 31-year-old Pemba Tenzing.

2022 on the summits of six eight-thousanders

Pemba Tenzing Sherpa
Pemba Tenzing Sherpa (1991-2023)

He grew up in the small village of Tesho, near Namche Bazaar, the main village of the Khumbu. He began working as a porter at an early age, first for trekking groups, then for expeditions. At the age of 15, he climbed the 5,732-meter-high Yala Peak in the Langtang region. At the age of 21, Pemba Tenzing stood for the first time on the highest point on earth, the summit of Mount Everest at 8,849 meters. It was his first eight-thousander success. He scaled Everest five more times: in 2016, 2017 and 2018 via the Tibetan north side, and in 2019 and 2022, as with his first Everest ascent, via the Nepalese south side of the mountain – always with bottled oxygen. He also reached the summits of another seven eight-thousanders.

In 2022 alone, Pemba Tenzing stood on six of the world’s 14 highest mountains: in spring on Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest, in summer on K2 and Broad Peak, and in fall on Manaslu, where he reached the “True Summit,” the very highest point at the end of the summit ridge, for the second time after 2021.

Brother stayed at Everest Base Camp

Pemba Tenzing on the summit of K2 in 2022
Pemba Tenzing on the summit of K2 in 2022

The successful Nepalese climber is survived by his fiancée and a daughter they share, who turns two in May. By law, the family of a fatally injured Sherpa is entitled to a life insurance payment of 1.5 million rupees (the equivalent of just over 10,000 euros). This is not enough to keep a family afloat for long. Therefore, members of the expedition teams often collect additional money for the surviving dependents.

Pemba Tenzing often joined his ten years older brother Ngima Nuru Sherpa on expeditions. The 41-year-old has already summited Mount Everest 24 times. Ngima Nuru was staying at the base camp when his younger brother suffered the fatal accident in the Khumbu Icefall. It broke his heart.

Update 24 April: Canadian climber Jill Wheatley has started a fund-raising campaign on the Internet for the families of the three Sherpas who died on Everest. Here is the link.

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