10-times Everest summiteer Ang Rita Sherpa passes away

Ang Rita Sherpa poses with Guinness World Record certificates in this file photo.

Ang Rita Sherpa, the first man to climb Everest 10 times, is no more. He was 72.

The veteran climber breathed his last at his daughter’s residence in Jorpati at 10 am on Monday, according to family sources.

Born in 1948 in Yillajung of Solukhumbu, Sherpa entered mountaineering as a porter at a tender age of 15. “I was orphaned in my teens which compelled me to accept mountaineering as a profession to support my family and supplement my meager income from farming marginal agricultural land in my village in Khumbu,” Sherpa had told eversthistory.com.

“I was orphaned in my teens which compelled me to accept mountaineering as a profession to support my family and supplement my meager income from farming marginal agricultural land in my village in Khumbu.”

Ang Rita, who had earned a nickname ‘Snow Leopard’ for his climbing prowess, was hired as a low altitude porter for an expedition to Dhaulagiri. Later, he worked for different expeditions and finally got the opportunity to become a climbing Sherpa of the British Army Expedition. He managed to reach Camp IV of Mt Everest with the expedition.
His first Everest summit came on May 7, 1983, when he assisted a German-American expedition to the top of Mt Everest. He reached the summit without using bottled oxygen. Next year, he climbed Mt Everest for the second time with a Slovak expedition. This was his first autumn summit. Next spring, he reached the Everest summit again with a Catalan expedition.

In 1992, he guided the first Chilean expedition to the summit of Mt Everest. A year later, he reached the summit again with a Spanish expedition. His first Everest summit from Tibetan side came in the spring of 1995 with a Russian expedition. His 10th summit was in 1996 with a Swedish expedition. All of his Everest summits were without the use of bottled oxygen.

Former President of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) Ang Tshering Sherpa remembers him as a very skillful mountaineer. “He didn’t use bottled oxygen in any of his summits,” Sherpa added.

According to Sherpa, Ang Rita was diagnosed of liver cirrohiss some 21 years ago. “We brought him to Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu where he received treatment for nearly three months. He had some problems in brain some four and half years ago. But it was also treated successfully,” Sherpa said, adding: “His daughter told me Ang Rita didn’t have serious medical issue of late.”

Ang Rita will be cremated as per Buddhist tradition. “I can’t fix the date yet as Lamas will find the auspicious date for cremation,” he added.

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