Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sherpas aim for new record - AP


By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA
Associated Press Writer
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - A veteran Sherpa guide set off Thursday on an
attempt to scale Mount Everest for a record 17th time and is
confident he'll make it to the top, as he won't be worrying about
helping a foreign client up the slopes.

Apa Sherpa will lead an eight-member team of
Sherpas calling themselves the ''Super Sherpas Expedition'' as he
attempts to break his own record for the number of climbs to the
29,035-foot summit.

''This is my 17th time ... I hope this is my 17th time (to reach the
peak),'' Apa told The Associated Press before leaving for Everest.

Apa - a modest, thinly built 46-year-old - is one of the most
respected climbers in the mountaineering community. His closest
competitor, fellow Sherpa guide Chewang Nima, 41, scaled the peak a
14th time last year.
Apa and his teammates will make a documentary about the climb and
some of the money raised will go toward providing better education and health
care for children in their community at the foothills of the mountain.

Apa said he expects his 17th climb of Everest to be easier as he
will not have to worry about helping foreign clients - but he still
is not taking any chances. He visited a famous Buddhist monastery in
Kathmandu where he offered scarves and colored flags and received a
blessing from the head priest.
He said he also won approval to climb the peak from his concerned
wife, who now lives in Salt Lake City, with his three children.
Apa's wife normally discourages him from climbing Everest because of
the enormous risks involved, having claimed the lives of nearly 200
people since the mountain was first conquered in 1953.

The eight members of the expedition have scaled Everest a combined
46 times - with Apa topping the list at 16 and his friend and co-leader, Lhakpa
Gelu, who holds the record for fastest ascent, 12 times.

Like most Sherpas, Apa grew up in the foothills of Everest, and
began carrying equipment and supplies for trekkers and mountaineers
at an early age.
Apa made his first summit of Everest in 1989 and has been climbing
almost every year since.
Sherpas were mostly yak herders and traders living in the Himalayas
until Nepal opened its borders to tourism in 1950. Their stamina and
knowledge of the mountains makes them expert guides and porters for
foreign mountaineers.

The team flew out of Kathmandu on Thursday, heading for the small
airstrip at Lukla, from where they will trek to the base camp and
spend a few more days acclimatizing and preparing for their summit
bid in the second week of May.
---
On the Net:
Super Sherpa expedition Web site: http://www.supersherpas.com
News about Everest: http://www.mounteverest.net
--

2 Comments:

Blogger Mindy said...

This is such an inspiring blog...I will follow all of you posts and I have shared it with friends. It's a beautiful story, thank you for allowing us to join these amazing sherpas on their quest for a better life in Tibet.

April 22, 2007 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Stephen Speckman said...

Mindy: We've had some troubles getting our blog out of first gear. We apologize for not publishing your comment until now. We're trying to work with sources in Utah and Nepal to provide updates as the SuperSherpas team climbs Everest. Keep checking back ...

May 3, 2007 at 11:14 AM  

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