He eventually decided to follow suit, hoping the work would help him support his family of eight, and fulfil his dream of “wearing mountain gear”.
He donned another climber’s hand-me-down boots for his Cho Oyo summit, which paved his way to working as a guide on other eight-thousanders.
By 2019, he had double summits on half of the 14 peaks, and a foreign climber suggested he try to complete the set.
EVEREST X 7
Long in the shadows as supporters of their paying foreign customers – it costs more than US$45,000 to climb Mount Everest – Nepali mountaineers are slowly being recognised in their own right.
In recent years, several films have helped shine a light on the key role of Nepali climbers, including “Sherpa” which was released in 2015, and more recently “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible”.
Nepal’s culture and tourism minister Jeevan Ram Shrestha said Sherpa’s double ascent record had established him as “a source of inspiration for climbers around the world”.
Sherpa has climbed Everest seven times and has triple ascents on another four of the 14 peaks.
Back in Kathmandu after last month’s record-setting climb, he is preparing for a fourth summit of Manaslu with a client and is getting offers for other expeditions.
“I can do triple ascents,” he said. “But, maybe that depends also on luck.”
Sherpa says his family often tell him he has faced enough challenges in the mountains and the time has come to hang up his boots.
“Sometimes I want to go and sometimes I don’t want to,” he said.
“What to do except climbing? There is no other job.”