KATHMANDU, May 21: The magic continues. Appa Sherpa made it to the top of Mt Everest for a record 19th time on Thursday, surpassing the record of 18 ascents he set last year.
“He reached the top at 8 am Thursday,” said Sanjaya Baral, expedition officer of Asian Trekking that organized the Eco Everest Expedition 2009 led by Appa, 49.
The Thame-born who moved to Utah, United States in 2006, placed a WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) banner that reads “Stop Climate Change, Let the Himalayas Live” atop the peak.
He also placed a holy urn given to him by the Rinpoche of Tengboche on the top.
“I am at the top and looking at all the prayer flags,” Appa told his organizers by radio at 8:30 am. “I have just satisfied the deities and placed the Bhumpa (holy urn) on the summit. I am the last of our group to get to the top today as I was delayed at the Hillary Step because there are so many people here. I arrived here at 8 am and have been here for 30 minutes. It´s very cold so I am heading down.”
Despite being the most experienced high altitude climber in the world, the 19th summit was not easy for Appa or his expedition.
The expedition was struck by tragedy on May 7 when a Lhakpa Nuru, a high altitude climber, died in an avalanche.
And on Tuesday, two team members gave up summit hopes and returned to Kathmandu. Among them was Henri Voigt who fell and hurt his head at Camp 2, and Jesse Easterling who fell ill after being mis-prescribed overdoses of dexamethasone.
The climbing season saw one of the worst weather conditions, forcing many climbers, including Appa, to retreat to Lobuche on May 13.
Appa´s expedition is meant to spread awareness about ecology and climate change. An initiative of Asian Trekking´s Managing Director Dawa Steven Sherpa, the expedition succeeded in bringing back some 5,000 kilograms of garbage from the slopes of Everest under the money-for-garbage scheme which financially rewards climbers, guides and porters who bring garbage back to Base Camp.
Appa failed his first attempt at scaling Mt Everest in 1988, before succeeding in 1990. He has climbed to the summit almost every year since.
First of all, let me take a privilege to pay my heartiest congratulation for your grand success of 19th times Everest conquering with your indomitable will. Also, we are very glad being placed a WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) banner that reads “Stop Climate Change, Let the Himalayas Live” atop the peak and placed a holy urn given by the Rinpoche of Tengboche on the top.