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The Grounded Conqueror


Pasang Tendi Sherpa, a 10-time Mount Everest Summiteer shares his story and plans with Tsering Ngodup Lama for “The Himalayan Times-Travel & Lifestyle”.

For someone, who has summated the highest mountain on the face of the earth 10 times, Pasang Tendi Sherpa is surprisingly a very grounded man. Born to a deeply religious Sherpa family, Tendi’s fascination with trekking expeditions was driven by naive hopes of being clothed and fed well and enjoying the interaction with foreigners. At a tender age of 13, Tendi landed a job in a 24 day Thorong Pass Expedition as a porter, which had him carrying 43 kilograms of baggage. This marked the beginning f a Sherpa’s mountaineering story.

The First Summit

I was 14 years old when I summated Mera Peak (6,476m),  making it the first mountain I conquered. The sights of the surroundings mountains standing in all their glory was unforgettable, I decided to take up mountaineering as a career.

Stepping on Mount Everest for the first time

It was 2003 and I was 19 years old when I was hired as a high altitude worker in an Everest Cleaning Expedition. The expedition took me to a height of 8,000m and we collected a total of 2.4 tonnes of garbage. We Sherpas revere Mount Everest as a holy site and being involved in cleaning it on my first Everest expedition, I like to believe that the mountain ‘s blessings has been with me and since then I have summated Mount Everest 10 times till 2013 and twice in a week in 2007.

Conquering Mount Everest

I first reached the summit of Mount Everest in 2004, climbing from the Tibet side. At 7,000m, my climbing partner fell ill and descended back to the camp and it was just me and a client. It was my first time climbing Mount Everest and doing it alone with no help was one of the most challenging climbs I have ever undertaken. Braving the harsh weather and dealing with all other obstacles, my client and I successfully reached the summit. It was the happiest moment of my life and an emotional one too. For any climbing Sherpa, successful Mount Everest ascent stamps the entry into the mountaineering profession, and on the that day on the top, I made it into the serious mountaineer profession. And the view from the top, no words can describe it, I was left completely awestruck.

Nepali Mountaineers he looks up to

Apa Sherpa for the number of Mount Everest summit and Pemba Gyalje Sherpa (National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2008) for his heroic rescue on K2.

Moutaineeing is for everyone

With passion, determination and practice anyone can become a mountaineer. Up in the mountains it can get very exhausting and each day your limits will be pushed and your patience tested so every aspiring mountaineer should know that patience is very important in this line of work.

Aiming High: Third Pole Expedition (Conquering the South Pole, Mount Everest and Note Pole)

An Argentinean friend first approached me with the idea of South and North Pole expedition and thus formed the idea of the Third Pole Expedition which will have me journeying to South Pole, Mount Everest and North Pole. The idea is slowly shaping into reality and the Argentinean government has agreed to sponsor the airfare from Argentina to Antarctica which costs almost USD 17,000. We are looking for sponsors for the expedition and through it, I will also be raising funds to educate the differently -abled children in our country. If things go as planned, I will be making the journey by November this year and will be the first Nepali to do so.

Marriage and the mellowing

Before, I wouldn’t calculate risk extensively and took up challenges without giving much thought. But ever since I got married, I am more careful in doing what I do and I don’t take up reckless challenges. It has in some way mellowed me and at the end of every expedition I long to come back home to my family.

What People Say

  • Tendi is one of the most amazing and talented people that I have ever met. He is an inspirational leader who successfully led our team to the summit of Everest on May 23, 2016. As a 25-year-old girl, I was one of the youngest of our group and a bit apprehensive of the enormity of our expedition, but I have to say that every step of the way I felt safe and in good hands with Tendi leading our team.

    From the moment I first was introduced to Tendi I had total trust and respect in him as a guide. His knowledge for the mountain and understanding how to communicate effectively with the different people and nationalities was remarkable. The summit is one thing but the climb down is where things can go wrong. I was very nervous for the descent but both Tendi, and my personal Sherpa Pasang calmed my nerves and assured me that we would get down safely.

    Our group had 100% summit success rate…but for Tendi success wasn’t the summit; success was getting our whole group down safely and being able to hug at advanced base camp complete with huge smiles on our faces. Tendi is a very special person that has left a huge impression on me and my life. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to climb with such man as Tendi!

  • Dear Tendi,

    I just wanted to say thank you to you one more time for this amazing experience!

    From the moment we all met in the USA I knew it was going to be a once in a lifetime journey. Your knowledge of trekking and the trials assured me we were all in great hands and I so much enjoyed learning about Nepal. Thank you for letting me pester you with all sorts of questions and teaching (Dr.) Sara and I (and the rest) some nepali and Sherpa- it was so fun!

    You are such an inspiration of a kind person who works so hard for their family.

    Your happy disposition is a pleasure to be around and always a reminder to smile :)

    I so greatly appreciate your sharing of Buddhism as well- I look forward to incorporating some practices in my own life and hope to study the philosophy more back in the States.

    Your business, trekking team, and family are all such a pleasure to be around- I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to meet them all (and I hope to see them again in the future!).

    Sara and I are excited to talk to our sorority (AST) about supporting your NGO in help of your village’s education and look forward to keeping in touch with you.

    Once more- thank you so much!

    -oh and your daughter is beautiful! I cannot wait to see her grow up to be another Ship grad :)

    All the best,

  • Tendi Sherpa is not only an amazing climbing guide, he is also an amazing friend. I first met Tendi in 2007 while climbing Everest. I was not feeling well while at camp III. Tendi and Ongdi Sherpa assisted me in reaching camp II safely. Later that night I developed severe HAPE. I credit Tendi and Ongdi for saving my life that night, and assisting me in my descent of the Khumbu Icefall, while being really sick.

    After Tendi reached the summit of Everest on May 16th 2007, he repeated an ascent with me on May 24th. I had recovered from HAPE in Namche Bazaar and was anxious to reach the summit before the monsoon came in. We climbed hard and fast. I have never met anyone with more strength and energy than Tendi Sherpa and Willie Beneges. We reached the summit of Everest 5 hours and 45 minutes after leaving camp IV then descended all the way to camp II in a single push.

    I would climb any mountain in the world with Tendi. He has become a close friend and also serves as a board member on an organization that I founded- Helping Assist Nepal’s Disabled (H.A.N.D.) Tendi has a huge heart and love for people. He is devoted to helping others in Nepal to have a better life.

    Brian smith
    Jacksonville, Oregon, USA

  • “We just summited Aconcagua, the first Nepali and the first Russian female to summit via Polish Glacier route. Tendi turned to me and said: “Now you do not need a guide to climb Aconcagua.” Ha! Tendi raised the bar!

    Thank you, dai, for bringing me closer to my aspiration of climbing unguided and unsupported; for making me a better climber and a better human being; leading me to great heights both mountains and spiritual.

    In the presence of Tendi Sherpa, one will find sound guidance, risk assessment, decision making, safety priority, and the highest level of expertise. Tendi is a true guide at heart, phenomenal climber and a beautiful human being.
    Thank you for your guidance and your friendship, Tendi!”

    Olya Lapina, entrepreneur, climber
    Sanfrancisco, USA

  • I reached the summit of Mount Everest in May 2012 and Tendi Sherpa, with his experience of 10 previous summits, was crucial in such an accomplishment.

    During my stay in the Himalayas, I asked Tendi lots of questions about his culture, religion, etc. Maybe my questions were very silly, considering I belong to the Occidental World. It´s such a different culture! But I always found Tendi ready to share all his knowledge with humility and kindness.

    I had the opportunity to meet Tendi in a two-month expedition in the Himalayas. During that time I got to know a kindhearted person who not only made me laugh with his jokes, but also had the right words in the most difficult situations I had to undergo.

    It`s amazing to see how many characteristics coexist in the same person; the innocence of a curious young man, the determination of an experienced climber, and the permanent good mood of a wise person.

    Even during the toughest moments of the expedition, there he was, with his wide smile, ready for a friendly chat.


    Hernan Carracedo
    Neuquén, Argentina

  • Tendi Sherpa was one of the leader/guides during my attempt to climb the highest point on the planet outside of the Himalayas – Aconcagua, in the Andes of Argentina, with my two sons and nephew in 2013. What a tremendous honour it was. Later that year, my daughter and I caught up with Tendi in Kathmandu, where we met his family and were shown his astonishing variety of well-kept climbing gear.

    Tendi is well-respected in the Sherpa and wider Nepalese communities, and other guides and climbers seek out his guidance. He has summited Everest with clients on multiple occasions, as well as other peaks around the world.

    His strength and perseverance, his knowledge and common sense, and his courage are legendary. His self-effacing nature, sparkling personality, politeness and sense of humour serve him well on the mountains, where things do not always go to plan.

    I would travel with him anywhere!

    From your friend

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  • Truly one of the most fascinating individuals I’ve met in my life…meet Tendi Sherpa. He has an aura that captivates the attention of everyone within his reach and his personality glows so bright he could light a room. 

    Tendi has 10 summits of Mt. Everest (and counting). This season, he became the first Nepali to summit Aconcagua by the Polish Glacier Direct route. Congratulations Tendi! It was great to meet you! Good luck this May :)

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