Famed Everest Sherpa visits Sonoma
ANG RITA SHERPA, right, and his business partner, Mingma Nuru, were in Sonoma on July 20.
Summiting Mt. Everest is a formidable feat. Summiting Mt. Everest 10 times is a very rare and formidable feat.
Summiting Everest 10 times without using supplemental oxygen is extraordinary, almost superhuman. Spending the night just yards beneath the summit of Everest (without oxygen) in a blinding blizzard - that's usually deadly.
But Ang Rita Sherpa, now 63 and retired from summit climbs, has done all those things and belongs to the ranks of a very rare fraternity of high altitude climbers whose achievements may never be equaled.
Shy and unassuming, Ang Rita was in Sonoma July 20, for what amounted to a family gathering of local Sherpas, several of whom are also Everest Sherpas with summits to their credit.
Ang Rita came to Sonoma with his business partner Mingma Nuru Sherpa, with whom he manages Ang Rita Trek & Expedition, a climbing and trekking company headquartered in the Nepal capital of Kathmandu.
Quizzed on his refusal to climb 8,000-meter peaks using supplemental oxygen, Ang Rita explained that oxygen systems are unreliable and when the oxygen runs out, "it is very uncomfortable. I feel better, I am more in touch with my body ..." climbing without oxygen.
The air at the top of Everest contains about a third of the oxygen found at sea level and while most Sherpas have adapted physiologically to living at high altitude, it is uncommon for even Sherpas to routinely decline extra O2 on summit attempts.
Ang Rita has three sons and a daughter, all involved in climbing and trekking. Two of the sons have already achieved multiple Everest summits.
Ang Rita's last summit came in 1996, the year when a record 19 people perished on Everest.