The legacy of Ang Rita Sherpa lives on

Wednesday 07 October, 2020   |   Socio-cultural Identity

Print This   |   Font Size + -

Sonam Yanji Sherpa

Sonam Yanji Sherpa

Solukhumbu

The legacy of Ang Rita Sherpa lives on

Nepal's mountaineering community has lost a true legend. Popularly known as the 'snow leopard', Ang Rita Sherpa breathed his last at his own residence in Jorpati, Kathmandu last month. He had long been suffering from brain and liver ailments. He was 72.

Recognized by the Guinness World Records in 2017 as 'the only person on the planet to have climbed Mt. Everest 10 times without bottled oxygen', Ang Rita Sherpa is an epitome of courage, resilience and patience. He may have gone, but his legacy will live on.

Recognized by the Guinness World Records in 2017 as 'the only person on the planet to have climbed Mt. Everest 10 times without bottled oxygen', Ang Rita Sherpa is an epitome of courage, resilience and patience. He may have gone, but his legacy will live on.

Born in 1948 in a remote Yillajung village in Solkhumbu district in eastern Nepal, Ang Rita first reached Mt. Everest without bottled Oxygen in 1983. He was a member of a German-American expedition team. His last ascent to the world's tallest peak without bottled oxygen – for a record 10th time - was in 1996.

Born to a poor mountain family, Ang Rita's family raised yaks for a living. Ang Rita helped his parents in farming and yak herding from an early age. Because of his hard work and exposure to extreme mountain climate, he evolved into a strong-willed and resilient man. At 15, he began supporting his family by working as a porter. He carried heavy loads for trekkers and mountaineers. It was the beginning of his journey as a mountaineer.

Ang Rita dedicated his life to mountaineering. He earned the moniker of Snow Leopard for his ability to survive and thrive in the thin air without oxygen supplement during the extreme Himalayan winter. Apart from the Everest, he also successfully climbed other tall and difficult mountains like Choyu, Manaslu, Lhotse, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. He also climbed K2 in Pakistan, the world's second tallest mountain.

Many mountaineers have left the county after earning fame and money. But Ang Rita turned down every offer to leave Nepal and settle down in a foreign country. He loved his country, and wanted to be in Nepal till his last moment.

After climbing the Everest for a record 10th time, Ang Rita decided to call it a day. He took the decision to retire following a request made by King Birendra, who urged him to not risk his life any more. After retiring from climbing, he turned his attention to environment protection. He was awarded with Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal in 2011 for his contribution to the protection of mountain ecosystem.

Ang Rita fell sick in 2017. He suffered from brain ailment. He was hospitalized at Neuro Hospital. And he never recovered. Nepal bade him farewell with the State honors. However, to respect the legacy of Ang Rita, the government needs to do more. In India, the Indian government has built a museum to honor the legacy of Tenzing Norgay, who was born a Nepali but was persuaded by the Indian government to accept Indian citizenship. Unfortunately, the Nepal government is often reluctant to even issue a statement mourning the passing away of a legendary mountaineer.

Many mountaineers have left the county after earning fame and money. But Ang Rita turned down every offer to leave Nepal and settle down in a foreign country. He loved his country, and wanted to be in Nepal till his last moment.


Conversations
Total Comments:

Related Posts

Like us on Facebook