Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa is one of only two men in history to reach the top of the world 21 times. As the world record holder of the most summits of Everest, Apa is widely recognized to be one of the greatest living mountaineers.

Ironically, summiting Everest was never a goal for Apa. At 12 years of age, he first began working as an expedition porter to earn money following the untimely death of his father. Leaders and trekkers alike immediately noticed the child who, despite his exceedingly small stature, carried loads greater than his own weight with strength, quickness and a wide smile.

Coming from Thame, the hometown of Everest legend Tenzing Norgay, it was almost inevitable that Apa would become a high altitude sherpa on Everest. He began carrying loads on Everest in 1988, but it wasn’t until May 10, 1990, that he reached the summit for the first time along with Rob Hall, Gary Ball, and Peter Hillary.

Since that memorable day, Apa has participated in 22 Everest expeditions and reached the summit 21 times. Adhering to a simple philosophy that “Everest will always be there” and it is more important to keep all team members and sherpas safe, Apa has led his teams to amazing success.

The only year Apa did not participate in Everest expedition was in 1996. Apa was asked to climb with Rob Hall several times as he had climbed with Rob three times in prior years. Apa stayed home to help his wife, Yangjin to build their new house in Thame. Apa was very saddened to learn that many of his close climbers lost their lives including Rob himself during the expedition. That year, fifteen people died trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest year in Mount Everest’s history.

After Officially retiring from climbing in 2011, Apa set another record by covering a distance of 1,700 kilometers on foot with a mission to raise awareness against climate change in the Himalayas in 2012 (The Great Himalayan Trail). Apa and his team completed 20 Himalayan districts from East to West of Nepal in 99 days.

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 from Thame is his top priority.

It is this desire for his children’s education that has brought Apa to the United States. While the decision to leave his homeland was a difficult one, Apa knows that his new home will bring him continued opportunities to pass on all that he has learned from climbing.

In addition to his mountaineering accomplishments, Apa is active in climate change education and the conservation of Mount Everest through many Eco-Everest clean-up expeditions. Eco-Everest removed around 14,000 kg of garbage from the mountain. Also a Climate-for-Life ambassador, Apa Sherpa was the recipient of World Wildlife Foundation’s prestigious “Leaders for a Living Planet” award, and he established a foundation to assist with education projects and schools in the Khumbu Valley. In 2013, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Utah for his commitment to cultural and ecological conservation of the Himalayas.

Apa Sherpa
Tiger of the Himalayas

Apa Sherpa is the world record holder for most Mt. Everest summits. Although he never intended to break any records, Apa continues to amaze the climbing world. Every time he sets foot on the mountain, he proves that greatness is best used to serve others.

Apa Sherpa's 21 Ascents and Date


# Year Expedition Name
1 May 10, 1990 International Everest Expedition
2 May 8, 1991   Sherpa Support/American Lhotse
3 May 12, 1992 New Zealand Everest Expedition
4 October 7, 1992 Everest International Expedition
5 May 10, 1993 American Everest Expedition
6 October 10, 1994 Everest International
7 May 15, 1995 American On Sagarmatha
8 April 26, 1997 Indonesian Everest Expedition
9 May 20, 1998 Environmental Everest Expedition
10 May 26, 1999 Asian-Trekking
11 May 24, 2000 Everest Environmental Expedition
12 May 16, 2002 Swiss Everest 50th Anniversary Expedition 1952-2002
13 May 26, 2003 American Commemorative Expedition
14 May 17, 2004 Dream Everest Expedition 2004
15 May 31, 2005 Climbing for A Cure
16 May 19, 2006 Team No Limit
17 May 16, 2007 SuperSherpas™
18 May 22, 2008  The Eco Everest Expedition
19 May 21, 2009  The Eco Everest Expedition
20 May 21, 2010  The Eco Everest Expedition
21 May 11, 2011  The Eco Everest Expedition

Awards and Sponsorships

  • Eleven (11) times Guinness Book of World records for the most summits of Mt. Everest (Year 2000 to 2011)
  • Honorary Degree of Humane Letters from University of Utah, USA 2013
  • Climate-for-Life ambassadors Apa Sherpa Sherpa received WWF’s prestigious “Leaders for a Living Planet” award in a ceremony held at Gland, WWF’s Secretariat in Switzerland
  • SAARC ambassador for climate change in recognition of his extraordinary contribution in raising awareness against climate change in the Himalayas
  • Limetime Achievement Award from Los Angeles Adventurers Club, USA 2013
  • Recipient of three medals of commendation from the royal family of Nepal as well as being recognized by mountaineering associations around the world.
  • World Leadership Award: Given by the Supreme Master Ching Hai
  • 2009 UTAH “Best of State Award”, Professional Athlete category
  • July 4th 2009, Apa Sherpa Day, Las Vegas Nevada Presentation by the Mayor of Las Vegas, USA
  • September 2009 Apa Sherpa Citizen of the month Nevada, Las Vegas NV, USA
  • Draper Utah 2010 Grand Marshall for the city and parade.
  • 2008-2009 Sundance Film Festival “Presenter” Best adventure film
  • 2007 Brunton Product Sponsor. Solar Power, binoculars, Spotting Scope
  • 2007-2008 EKAY Product sponsor, Chap stick, carabineers,
  • 2007 Cannon G-9 Camera and HD video camera sponsor
  • 2007-2009 Salt Lake Tribune media sponsor
  • 2008 Outdoor Magazine Top 100 visionary giants you need to know
  • 2008 Mountain Smith Back Packs product sponsor
  • 2008-2009 Ritz Pixs Film printing, camera product support
  • 2008-2009-2010 Diamond Mold Summit banner sponsor
  • 2008-2009-2010 SD-7 Summit banner sponsor
  • 2008-2009- 2010 Eco Everest Expedition Team Leader. 2009 Eco Everest team cleaned off 13,000 lbs of garbage off of Everest in 2009 with the help of all the Sherpas and clean up sponsors.
  • 2010 Asian Trekking, Eco Everest Summit permit and team support
  • 2010 SOLARUS Lending Group “ Summit Banner Sponsor “
  • 2010 Travel Host Magazine “ Summit Banner Sponsor
  • 2010 Bohemian Brewery “ Summit Banner Sponsor “
  • 2010 Eddie Bauer/ First Ascent, Summit Banner Sponsor “Official Outfitter “of all apparel. Professional Athlete. Marketing includes National and International use of Apa’s likeness, Social media outlet marketing and advertising
  • 2010 Suunto Professional Athlete 2010, Summit banner sponsor, product testing, reviews. Highlighted in 2010 Suunto catalog, Web-site marketing Apa wearing product. T-6 Heart monitors watch testing on Mt Everest.
  • 2010 Hot Chillys Professional Athlete