It is with a heavy heart and incredible sadness that we say goodbye to our close friend and climbing partner, Ankaji Sherpa, whose life was tragically ended in the Everest avalanche that took so many lives. Together, Sharon and I had the fortune to have been a part of so many wonderful expeditions, through Nepal and Tibet, whilst having the privilege of standing on top of the world with this great man. His spirit, courage, strength and friendship has been a special part of our lives, and we are struggling to accept his untimely departure. Sumit, Lakpa, Jangdu, Rabin and the Himalayan Ascent team are hurting, mourning his passing, and our condolences go out to these incredible guys.
The inherent risks of climbing high mountains are what we accept, acknowledging that the outcome may not always be positive, but this does not make his death any easier to accept. Sharon and I are floored, completely numb and in disbelief, finding it difficult to comprehend that this tragedy has happened. The tears are flowing as we send this message, Ankaji was a beautiful, humble man, and without doubt one of the most revered, experienced climbers in the Himalayas.
So many families are hurting now, with far too many Sherpa’s losing their lives, and the healing process will begin. For Ankaji, he leaves behind six loving children, and for that reason, we, along with Himalayan Ascent and Raul Helander, will be creating a foundation to support his family, with an allocation of funds from our future climbs and treks ensuring they are always taken care of.
Sharon and I are in Nepal next week, and will say goodbye to a magical man and father. You will be in our hearts forever my friend. We miss you buddy. Om mani padme hum.