“It’s not my goal to chase the records,” says Ngima Nuru Sherpa. “Mount Everest is my job.” This spring, the 37-year-old from the village of Tesho near Namche Bazaar, the hub of the Khumbu region, reached once more the summit of Everest: “I’m the youngest till date to have been up there for the 22nd time.”
On 23 May, Ngima Nuru stood at the highest point at 8,850 meters after climbing via the Northeast Ridge. “This year there was more snow below the Advanced Base Camp than in 2018, but less snow above 7,900 meters,” the Sherpa writes to me adding that during the whole time it was very windy on the Tibetan north side: “At the North Col many tents were damaged, the wind blew some equipment off the mountain.”
Since 2001 summit successes almost in a row
In the past climbing season Ngima Nuru worked as Sirdar, the head of the Climbing Sherpas, for an expedition of the Nepalese operator “Arun Teks & Expeditions”. Behind him lies a “classic” Sherpa career. At first Ngima Nuru worked as a local Sherpa and kitchen assistant for trekking groups. In 1999 he scaled the six-thousander Island Peak, in 2001 for the first time Mount Everest, also then on the Tibetan north side of the mountain. Since then, according to his own words, he has reached, except for 2015, the summit every year (sometimes twice), both from the north and the south side – a total of 22 times, according to Ngima Nuru, first as Climbing Sherpa, since 2006 as Sirdar. The mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, however, has recorded so far “only” 19 of his summit successes (the ascent last May included). Ngima Nuru answers my question on this point by saying that he will see to it that the other three ascents will be included in the chronicle too.
Like mother and father
With 22 ascents he would be second in the “eternal” Everest ranking, behind Kami Rita Sherpa, who celebrated his summit successes number 23 and 24 in the past season, and ahead of Phurba Tashi Sherpa and the legendary Apa Sherpa, who each stood 21 times on the roof of the world and no longer climb Everest. Maybe one day Ngima Nuru will even move to the top of the record list because he is eleven years younger than Kami Rita.
“For me, Mount Everest is like my mom and dad. It is the Goddess (Chomo) Miya Lang Sangma who brought me to where I am now,” writes Ngima Nuru, who is married and has two sons. He depends on Everest, says he, since after all, he earns a living for his family there and on other high mountains in the Himalayas. Twice – in 2003 and 2009 – the Sherpa also scaled the eight-thousander Cho Oyu in Tibet.
His dream: The Seven Summits
I ask him if the foreign clients of commercial expeditions on Everest are experienced enough from his point of view. “Most of them are experienced,” replies Ngima Nuru. “In order to climb safely and successfully, those who are not experienced must do some training and climb a six-, seven- or other eight-thousander before tackling Everest.” Ngima Nuru Sherpa also has his own sporting dream: “I have the passion to climb the Seven Summits (the highest mountains of all continents). But that’s only possible if I find sponsors – and if I’m fortunate.”