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Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa has been called the Michael Jordan of Mount Everest with his 21 expeditions to the top of Mount Everest without losing a single life.

When the team at Thule started to develop a series of advanced hiking and trekking backpacks in 2013, we wanted to find partners and ambassadors who would not only give us input to the packs, but also carry the genuine message of what Thule products are all about; quality, safety, ease of use and stylish design. This search for soul mates quickly brought us to a legendary man from Nepal, called Apa Sherpa. Apa is a thoroughly remarkable mountain guide, who has taken 21 successful expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest without losing a single life. That makes him the world record holder for Mount Everest summits. But if you ask Apa, he'll tell you that that's not the important part of his story. That's something else entirely...

APA SHERPA DOESN’T know how old he is. You don’t celebrate birthdays in Nepal. And all the children are named after the weekdays. But even as a child, Apa stood out. He miraculously survived an avalanche when he was young and this exemplified his inner drive, a determination to survive and - even more importantly - to help others to survive in the demanding conditions high in the mountains. His willpower and dedication to making a change motivated him to walk 3 hours to and from school, every day from the age of 5. He wanted to become a doctor so he could help the children of Nepal. But his father died when Apa was 12 and everything changed. He had to leave school and start work as a porter to support his family.

Coming from Thame - the hometown of Tenzing Norgay - it was almost inevitable that Apa would become a high altitude sherpa on Everest. He began carrying loads on the lower parts of the mountain in 1988, but it wasn't until May 10, 1990 that he reached the summit for the first time, alongside Rob Hall, Gary Ball and, in a twist of fate, Peter Hillary (Peter's father Edmund was of course one of the first two men to reach Everest's peak, alongside Tenzing Norgay). Since then, Apa has taken part in 22 Everest expeditions and reached the summit 21 times. Sticking to the simple philosophy that “Everest will always be there” and so it's more important to keep all team members and sherpas safe, Apa has led his teams to amazing success.

In addition to his mountaineering achievements, Apa is active in climate change education and the conservation of Everest through the Eco Everest clean-up expeditions, which have removed around 14,000 kg of debris and waste from the mountain. Apa is a Climate-for-Life ambassador and a recipient of the World Wildlife Foundation's prestigious "Leaders for a Living Planet" award. Then there's the notso- small matter of a certain foundation that bears his name...

In 2010 Apa founded the Apa Sherpa Foundation with help from his best friend Jerry Mika. It works for the children of Nepal's right to an education. It is Apa's belief that without an education, children in Nepal are left with no choice. They are pushed into becoming porters, and have to work extremely hard to make a living rather than enjoying the great nature they live in. The Apa Sherpa Foundation seeks to build on Apa's legacy by supporting individuals where they live, starting with Apa's hometown of Thame and outwards from there..

If Apa could have planned his life differently, however, he says that he would gladly have given up the world records for a good education and a career as a medical doctor. That is why education for his own children and for the other children of Thame is his top priority. In 2013 Apa himself received an honorary doctorate from the University of Utah, not for his climbing exploits, but for his commitment to cultural and ecological conservation of the Himalayas.

“Apa Sherpa is the recipient of the World Wildlife Foundation’s prestigious ‘Leaders for a Living Planet’ award.”

Thule proudly supports the Apa Sherpa Foundation with meal programs and teacher salaries for the schools managed by the organization in the Thame region in Nepal.

”Without an education the children of Nepal have no choice. Then they have to become porters and risk their lives.”

Apa Sherpa in short

Began carrying loads on Everest.

Reached the summit for the first time.

Apa has reached the summit 21 times.

Founded the Apa Sherpa Foundation.

Received an honorary doctorate.

14,000 kg of garbage has been removed from the mountain by the Eco Everest clean up expeditions.


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Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa is a legendary mountain guide from Thame, Nepal. He’s called the Michael Jordan of Mount Everest and the Tiger of the Himalayas. Apa holds the record of having reached the summit of Mount Everest the most times in the world.


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