Sherpa Sets Record for Everest Climbs
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
Finally today, congratulations to another high achiever. He's a Sherpa named Apa from Nepal, though he lives in Salt Lake City now, but he's back on Mount Everest and just back at base camp today after getting to the top for a record 17th time.
APA (Record-Setting Climber): This time I was very excited because we did very successful our goal. All Sherpas only climbing.
CHADWICK: We spoke with Apa by satellite phone a little earlier. This was an all-Sherpa team, no clients, just Sherpas, seven of them; this is the first climb ever that is all Sherpa.
Mr. JERRY MIKA (Climber): This team here was all family and is the strongest team in the history with 55 ascents. History was made on 5/16 at 8:44 a.m.
CHADWICK: Jerry Mika, he's an American climber, except on this expedition he is the Sherpa. He's managed base camp while Apa led the way up the mountain. Apa lives in the U.S. now and works with Jerry at Karma Outdoor Clothing in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two organized this climb to call attention to the work that Sherpas do and to raise money for Sherpa schools.
Mr. MIKA: We're putting together a documentary to show the world that without the Sherpas and these people, that realistically nobody's going to climb this mountain. They are the backbone. They take the westerners. These guys are just incredible athletes.
CHADWICK: Also climbing with Apa, the man who holds the record for the fastest climb up Everest, Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa. Four years ago he made it up Mt. Everest in less than 11 hours. All seven Sherpa climbers have returned safely to base camp after stopping their descent to help recover the bodies of two South Korean climbers who died yesterday.
Here's Jerry Mika, again from base camp.
Mr. MIKA: Their hearts are all for giving. It isn't about taking. These guys are givers all the way.
(Soundbite of music)
CHADWICK: Jerry Mika with the all-Sherpa team that summited Everest and returned a 17th record climb for a Sherpa named Apa.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.