Long recognised as one of the finest mountain guides of his generation among the tight-knit Himalayan climbing community, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa has long been the go-to man for rope fixing on the toughest 8,000m peaks. More recently he’s made a name for himself on the world stage, thanks to his part in record breaking feats like the first winter ascent of K2.
On January 16, 2021, shortly before 5pm local time, a team of 10 climbers met just 30 metres from the summit of K2, the world’s second highest mountain. Huddling together to ensure that they reached the top as one, the men began singing the Nepalese national anthem as they strode the last few steps towards the summit - and into the history books.
Before he became one of the first people ever to climb K2 in winter, the name Mingma Tenzi Sherpa might not have been familiar to many in the world outside of mountaineering. But among the tight-knit Himalayan climbing community, it came as no surprise that the then 36-year-old climber was part of the record breaking team who reached the summit, alongside his fellow Elite Exped directors Nimsdai and Mingma David Sherpa.
The stunning achievement, widely recognised as the last great challenge in Himalayan mountaineering, marks the pinnacle (so far, at least) of a long and impressive climbing career that’s seen Mingma Tenzi summit 8,000m peaks no fewer than 20 times - including nine summits of Mount Everest itself.