A tribute to our brother, Ankaji Sherpa 21-04-14 12PM

With heavy hearts, today we farewell our friend and brother, Ankaji Sherpa. Today his spirits will soar to heights above Everest to a new world I know that will welcome him with love. See you in our next life brother.

 

Ankaji Sherpa (1978-2014)

Loving father of six and Himalayan Ascent Senior Guide

 

When Ankaji participated in the rescue operation for the 2012 Manaslu avalanche, I recall how torn up he was emotionally when he saw the avalanche debris. As I write this, I can't believe this has also become his fate during his 8th Everest expedition and 14th year of guiding. It was Ankaji's decision this year to take the responsibility of head guide rather than client personal guide, even though the position is less lucrative and holds no personal glory. With five Everest summits already under his belt, Ankaji wasn't a guy ever interested in personal glory. He always prioritised safety, particularly client's safety, and the team before his own personal ambitions. Ankaji was on what was meant to be a routine rotation to set up Camp 1 and 2 when the avalanche struck and took him from us. In fact, Ankaji was just being Ankaji at the time of the accident as he accompanied his brother-in-law slowly through the icefall instead of thinking of his own safety.

 

A local of the Makalu region, Ankaji started guiding when he was 22. This year at age 36, he beat many guides more than 10 years younger in age to win a competitive spot in the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations Aspiring Guides programme. This programme was his one personal ambition to formalise his extensive years of experience and love of mountaineering. His list of accomplishments included several 8000m summits (Everest, Manaslu, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma). His fitness was incredible, he was literally a lean mean fighting machine. Last year, after pulling off two fast ascents of Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, Ankaji came to give us a hand on Ama dablam with hardly a moments rest in between! He was an exceptional guide respected by everyone.

 

However, it was Ankaji's warm personality that really stood him out as a guide, friend and father. He was widely loved for his friendliness and team-orientated work ethic. It's countless the number of times clients expressed to me appreciation of Ankaji's caring nature when they felt unwell or fear during a trip. His kindness touched everyone who was fortunate enough to have known him. Undoubtably his selfless personality stems from his love for his family of six children (three daughters and three sons), whom he was raising almost single-handedly. For a guy who always smiled, laughed and loved life, you would have never guessed that life was in fact, less than easy for him. Ankaji wasn't just a guide; he was a good friend, supportive teammate, climbing buddy and a brother. We will miss you kaji.

 

Himalayan Ascent will make every effort to help support Ankaji's children. If you would like to help, please do contact us ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

 

 

Sad day for the Himalayan Ascent team 19-04-14 8AM

Himalayan Ascent have never had to make a post like this before, so we are lost for words how to express this:

 

We regret to confirm that during yesterday's avalanche between Everest base camp and Camp 1, we lost 3 of our guides and support staff. They included our senior guide, Ankaji Sherpa, Tenzing Sherpa (Camp 2 kitchen assistant and Ankaji's brother-in-law) and Asman Gurung (personal guide of Edwin, USA).

 

Fortunately, Dendi Sherpa, Ang gelu Sherpa and Anil Shrestha had already reached Camp 1 when the avalanche occurred. The boys are safe and have already returned to base camp.

 

Ankaji's body was recovered yesterday and is in the process of being sent to Kathmandu to begin funeral services today. The bodies of Tenzing and Asman are yet to be retrieved. Lakpa will return from Makalu base camp today to help coordinate Ankaji's last rites and funeral. They will conduct a 49 day puja for Ankaji. Ankaji was a key member of the Himalayan Ascent team, our entire team is grieving from this accident.

 

We have the families of Ankaji, Tenzing and Asman in our hearts and minds; please keep them in your prayers.

 

This is the worst accident in Everest's climbing history. In total, the lives of 16 men were lost from several expeditions. Eight of the men were Khumbu locals, their bodies have already been returned to their families. Most of the men were carrying loads to Camp 1 and Camp 2 at the time. These are the men who are the true work horses of expeditions, the men who make Everest dreams come true for summit aspirants. Men who are themselves climbing guide aspirants, but still untrained, begin their experience by carrying loads for Everest climbers. Sadly they are often forgotten, let's hope their contributions are better considered from April 18th 2014 onwards.

 

Puja completed, climbing to begin! 17-04-14 5PM

After much preparation and excitement, our puja this morning got underway with all of our Everest climbers and gear in attendance. This year a lama from Pangboche led our ceremony. As is also the local tradition, we celebrated the end of the puja with beer, of course with Everest beer.

 

Tomorrow at 3am, our support Sherpas and staff will make their first foray through the icefall to carry loads to Camp 1 and Camp 2. The team includes Ankaji, Dendi, Anil the Camp 2 cook and others.

 

Carlos, Cid, Jangbu and Chirring returned to Lobuche enroute to climb Island Peak. Our trekkers and other Island Peak climbers have also departed Everest base camp so the camp site is quiet again.

 

 

At Everest base camp 16-04-14 11AM

The team arrived at Everest base camp yesterday and everyone is super excited. This afternoon they will take a tour of the season's circus and will take a peek at the ice fall. Tomorrow morning the non Everest climbers will head back out to climb Kala Pattar, whilst our Everest climbers will sit in on a puja ceremony. After the puja, Carlos and Cid will head down towards Island peak base camp. This season they will do their early acclimatisation rounds on this trekking peak to limit their rotations through the ice fall. Our Sherpa guides will begin rotations to establish higher camps from Friday. The guys are itching to get moving after spending the last week setting up Everest base camp in the snow.

 

 

Snowing in Lobuche 14-04-14 7PM

The Grade 6 team arrived into Lobuche just in time to miss an afternoon of snowfall. Fortunately the weather broke for a lovely sunset by evening. The team will head straight to Everest base camp tomorrow for one of Rabin's special lunches.

 

Yas (UK), William (Australia) and Canadians, Jane and Daniel, left for the Khumbu today and are in Monjo with Galden and Sonam. Yas and William are heading to Camp 3 of Everest, whilst Jane and Daniel are out to climb Island Peak.

 

Lakpa leading the Makalu team are resting in Khongma tonight. From tomorrow they will enter the more remote Barun valley.

 

 
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