Apa Sherpa on the summit of Mt. Everest. Apa Sherpa holds the record of most summits of the world’s highest mountain with 21 successful summits. (Photo) Mingma Sherpa
On May 11, 2011, Apa Sherpa summited Everest for the 21st time, breaking his own record of 20 summits. Apa Sherpa first summited the mountain in 1990 while working for Rob Hall and Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund Hillary). Since 1990 Apa Sherpa has reached the top of the world’s tallest mountain almost every year. (In 1996 he declined work with Rob Hall to spend time finishing a lodge at his family home and in 2001 his team was unsuccessful.)
Born Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa sometime between 1960-1962, Apa Sherpa became responsible for his family around the age of 12, after his father died. His first work for an expedition was as a kitchen boy for Erhard Loretan’s Round Annapurna Traverse in 1985. After that expedition he worked for a series of Western climbing expeditions before getting the chance to summit in 1990.
For the last decade Apa Sherpa has routinely broken his own record as the man with the most Everest summits. In 2000 when he was interviewed by Everestnews.com he told the site that he climbs for “work” not for “adventure.”
While Alpinist.com does not usually report on Everest climbing records we thought that this was an important record to highlight. In the West climbing Everest once is enough to turn someone into an inspirational speaker. For Apa Sherpa summitting Everest is something he does once a year, for work.