A farmer-turned-mountain guide who recently became the first person to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks twice decides whether to retire.
“I think I want to stop climbing high mountains and traveling to foreign countries as a tourist for a while,” Sanu Sherpa said in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
Sherpa, 47, recently returned to Nepal after completing his second tour of the 14 peaks over 8,000m. He climbed Mount Everest seven times.
He started mountaineering later than most people in his community. His first successful ascent was in 2006, when he scaled Mount Cho Oyu at age 31.
It wasn’t until a year later that he started working in mountaineering, carrying supplies and climbing gear on his back up the mountains and helping out in the base camp kitchen.
Until then, he had worked in his remote mountain village growing potatoes, corn and wheat and helping his parents graze yaks.
He said he saw men from his village working for a few months in mountaineering and returning with good clothes and money, while he struggled on the farm and did not earn enough to support his family. .
He decided to leave behind his plow and farming tools and head to the nearest mountain to work as a porter.
He was the first of his nine siblings to take up mountaineering, but was soon joined by his other two brothers.
His only son, who is now at university, went to the low mountains with his father but does not want to follow in his footsteps.
Sherpa has climbed peaks over 8,000m a total of 37 times and has been involved in high altitude rescues as well as the recovery of dead climbers.
“When I rescue, I have the idea that one day I might also be in the same situation, and I’m scared. But I kept climbing because it’s only as a Sherpa guide that I can find a job,” he said.
“We don’t have any other skills or education to get another job.”
He has become one of the most sought-after mountain guides since setting the new mountaineering record, but said he was considering quitting as his family didn’t want him to continue taking the risk .
“I now get many offers from foreign clients who tell me that they will give me very expensive money to guide them to the mountain peaks, but I haven’t responded,” he said. – PA