Everest Ice Fall Doctor Ang Nima Sherpa died at 59

Posted: Jan 29, 2013 05:15 pm EST

(Tina Sjogren/Asian Trekking) We complained about him when the icefall was late, we praised him when the job got done. Most of us met him, and he kept us safe.

Now the Ice Fall Doctor Ang Nima Sherpa is gone. Here's from Ang Tshering in Kathmandu.

"This is to inform of the sad demise of Khumbu Ice fall Doctor Ang Nima Sherpa who was one of the oldest serving sherpa for the Mt. Everest - Khumbu Ice fall doctors. He died in his home village of Pangboche on the 25th January 2013 at 6:30 pm at the age of 59.

The 'Icefall Doctors' are sherpas who set and maintain the safest path through the Icefall by laying down a series of ladders across the crevasses.

The Icefall doctors are an integral part of every successful expedition to Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Mt. Nuptse. Every year , each climbing season, they stay on the mountain maintaining the route and making sure that the ladders and ropes remain in place to ensure safety of the climbers.

It is an extremely dangerous job with hazards like avalanches, moving glaciers and tumbling seracs threatening them everyday. Hundreds of climbers rely on the ropes and ladders (used for crossing large crevasses) that these men set and would be unable to climb Mount Everest without their help.

My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of late Mr. Ang Nima Sherpa and pray to God for the eternal peace of the departed soul."

Ang Tshering Sherpa
Honorary Member,
UIAA ( International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation)

In 2011 Molly Loomis from University of Cambridge did an interview with Ang Nima in which he explains how he became an ice fall doctor, starting with working on Chris Bonington’s Everest expedition in the 1970s.

These recordings were made on a trek in the spring of 2011 up to Mount Everest Base Camp. The recordings span a wide variety of topics from making and drinking chang to the work of Mount Everest's 'ice fall doctors'.


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Most of us met him, and he kept us safe.
Image by BAI courtesy BAI
"Under the leadership of Ang Nima, the longtime lead 'Icefall Doctor', 11 or our regular climbing Sherpas worked hard over a period of 5 days to establish the route up to C1," reported Wally Berg back in 2006. Image of Ang Nima courtesy of BAI (click to enlarge).
Image by Wally Berg courtesy Berg Adventures International, SOURCE

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