KATHMANDU, Nepal — Ang Rita Sherpa, who earned international fame by climbing the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, 10 instances with out using supplemental oxygen, died on Monday at his daughter’s home in Kathmandu. He was 72.
His loss of life was confirmed by his household and by Nepal’s mountaineering associations. No trigger was specified, however he had been struggling in recent times from a number of lung and mind illnesses that colleagues say might have developed from his years of climbing excessive altitudes with out bottled oxygen.
Most climbers use supplemental oxygen when ascending peaks greater than 8,000 meters, an altitude mountaineers name the “loss of life zone” as a result of the air is so skinny that the human physique begins to close down. Early in his profession as a porter, and later as a mountain information, Ang Rita seen that he by no means felt the necessity for supplemental oxygen, at the same time as he carried bottles of it for different mountaineers. He didn’t use it throughout his first ascent of Everest in 1983 or on his subsequent 9 ascents, the final of which was in 1996.
In his solely winter expedition on Everest, in 1987-88, he and a Korean climber misplaced their means just under the summit in unhealthy climate situations and spent the entire night time doing aerobic exercises to stay warm.
Ang Rita holds the Guinness World Record for many climbs of Everest with out bottled oxygen, a file that is still unequaled. (One other Sherpa, Kami Rita, holds the file for many complete ascents of Everest, having completed it 24 instances, however he was identified to make use of bottled oxygen.)
The Nepalese authorities honored Ang Rita with a number of awards, most notably the Order of Tri Shakti Patta First Class in 1990.
“His demise is an irreparable loss to the nation’s climbing trade,” President Bidya Devi Bhandari of Nepal wrote on Twitter.
Ang Rita Sherpa was born in 1948 in Yillajung, a tiny village close to Thame within the Everest area of Nepal. His mom, Chhokki Sherpa, and his father, Aayala Sherpa, have been farmers. Ang Rita by no means obtained a proper schooling (no college was established within the Everest area till 1961, when Edmund Hillary, the primary mountaineer to succeed in the summit of Everest, constructed one in Khumjung). He discovered the Nepali alphabet on his personal and will barely write his personal identify.
Ang Rita spent his childhood days within the excessive pastures grazing yaks, rising potatoes and carrying commodities from close by markets. He grew to become a porter when he was 15 and rapidly gained a repute for his agility, in the end incomes the nickname Snow Leopard.
Though he was raised below the shadow of Mount Everest, his first job as a porter was to climb Dhaulagiri, a Himalayan massif that features the world’s seventh-highest mountain, for which he had no footwear or gear.
After about 15 years as a porter, he grew to become a mountain information.
Along with climbing Everest 10 instances, Ang Rita climbed Dhaulagiri a complete of 4 instances, in addition to the Himalayan peak Cho Oyu — additionally 4 instances — and Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak, as soon as. He didn’t use supplemental oxygen on any of those climbs.
Ang Tshering, the previous president of the Nepal Mountaineering Affiliation, mentioned in an interview that he as soon as climbed Dhaulagiri with Ang Rita, and that he discovered him to be the strongest Sherpa of his time. “He challenged science and human physiology,” he mentioned.
Ang Rita stopped climbing after the 1996 Everest catastrophe, through which eight folks died in a fierce blizzard. However he continued to work as a base camp supervisor and trekking information.
Colleagues say he by no means saved cash or nervous in regards to the future. He lived a cheerful life and loved his retirement days to the fullest. He was residing in his house village till his spouse, Nima Chokki, died a number of years in the past. He then moved to Kathmandu to stay together with his daughter, Dolma.
She survives him, as do two sons, Tshewang Dorje and Furunuru, and eight grandchildren. One other son, Karsang Namgyal Sherpa, who additionally grew to become a mountain information, died in 2012 after an Everest expedition.