Apa Sherpa has reached the top of the world a record 21 times as the 13 time Guinness world record holder of 21 summits of Everest, Cleaning Everest and the first VR 360 on top 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. He is the recipient of three medals of commendation from the royal family of Nepal as well as being recognized by mountaineering associations around the world.
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.
Residing in Draper, UT, Apa will send his three children to high school and college and fulfill his dream of giving them opportunities he never had through the Apa Sherpa Foundation. He will also continue to pass on his life lessons learned on Everest to other Sherpas and climbers, as well as raise awareness about the humanitarian and environmental needs of the Himalaya region.
Thomas Cheatham is a Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and also Director of Research Computing and the Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC) at the University of Utah. His research involves large ensembles of biomolecular simulations with the AMBER suite of programs with a focus on RNA. He is involved nationally with a variety of cyberinfrastructure interests including XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment), the Blue Waters Petascale Resource, RMACC (the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium), ACI-REF (advanced cyberinfrastructure research and education facilitators), and the Campus Research Computing Consortium. At CHPC, beyond broadly supporting research computing on campus, our staff engineer, deploy and operate a diverse set of innovative and cost effective resources ranging from high performance computing, storage and advanced networking, virtualized environments, to protected environment for computing and analyses of restricted data including HIPAA and human genomic data.