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 may have developed from his years of climbing excessive altitudes with out bottled oxygen.
Most climbers use supplemental oxygen when ascending peaks larger than eight,000 meters, an altitude mountaineers name the “death 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 observed that he by no means felt the necessity for supplemental oxygen, whilst 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 manner slightly below the summit in unhealthy climate situations and spent the entire evening doing cardio workouts to remain heat.
Ang Rita holds the Guinness World Record for most climbs of Everest without bottled oxygen, a record that remains unequaled. (Another Sherpa, Kami Rita, holds the record for most total ascents of Everest, having done it 24 times, but he was known to use bottled oxygen.)
The Nepalese government honored Ang Rita with several awards, most notably the Order of Tri Shakti Patta First Class in 1990.
“His demise is an irreparable loss to the country’s climbing industry,” President Bidya Devi Bhandari of Nepal wrote on Twitter.
Ang Rita Sherpa was born in 1948 in Yillajung, a tiny village near Thame in the Everest region of Nepal. His mother, Chhokki Sherpa, and his father, Aayala Sherpa, were farmers. Ang Rita never received a formal education (no school was established in the Everest region until 1961, when Edmund Hillary, the first mountaineer to reach the summit of Everest, built one in Khumjung). He learned the Nepali alphabet on his own and could barely write his own name.
Ang Rita spent his childhood days in the high pastures grazing yaks, growing potatoes and carrying commodities from nearby markets. He became a porter when he was 15 and quickly gained a reputation for his agility, ultimately earning the nickname Snow Leopard.
Although he was raised under the shadow of Mount Everest, his first job as a porter was to climb Dhaulagiri, a Himalayan massif that includes the world’s seventh-highest mountain, for which he had no shoes or equipment.
After about 15 years as a porter, he became a mountain guide.
In addition to climbing Everest 10 times, Ang Rita climbed Dhaulagiri a total of four times, as well as the Himalayan peak Cho Oyu — also four times — and Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak, once. He didn’t use supplemental oxygen on any of these climbs.
Ang Tshering, the former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said in an interview that he once climbed Dhaulagiri with Ang Rita, and that he found him to be the strongest Sherpa of his time. “He challenged science and human physiology,” he said.
Ang Rita stopped climbing after the 1996 Everest disaster, in which eight people died in a fierce blizzard. But he continued to work as a base camp manager and trekking guide.
Colleagues say he never saved money or worried about the future. He lived a happy life and enjoyed his retirement days to the fullest. He was living in his home village until his wife, Nima Chokki, died several years ago. He then moved to Kathmandu to live with his daughter, Dolma.
She survives him, as do two sons, Tshewang Dorje and Furunuru, and eight grandchildren. Another son, Karsang Namgyal Sherpa, who also became a mountain guide, died in 2012 after an Everest expedition.