Tenzi Sherpa

An established expert, &
a legend on 8,000m peaks.

Mingma Tenzi Sherpa

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.

Unparalleled Achievements

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.

m:3x4 d: 3x4
m:3x4 d: 3x4

A Himalayan Birthright

Mingma Tenzi Sherpa was born in the mountains, and raised among some of the highest peaks on Earth. His home village of Yaphu, population 2,500, lies in the Sankhuwasabha District in the Eastern part of Nepal, not far from Makalu, the world’s fifth-highest mountain.

His father, Sumba Rinji Sherpa, worked as a trekking guide, so it was no surprise when a young Mingma Tenzi followed suit. He made his first trips in 2003, at the tender age of 19, and by 2005 was working as an assistant guide on the trekking peaks of the Himalayas. He climbed Mera Peak (6,476m) that year, Island Peak (6,189m) twice in 2006, and Lobuche (6,119m) that same summer.

Although they’re known as some of the easier climbs in the Himalayas, everything is relative - each of these three mountains is a full kilometre higher than Mont Blanc (or anything else in the Alps for that matter), and demands a hugely high level of fitness to climb. As a training ground, you’d be hard-pushed to find anything more demanding.

An 8,000m Expert

By the time the spring climbing season rolled round in 2007, Mingma Tenzi was ready to step up to the next level. That year, he made his first summit of Mount Everest, working as an assistant guide. He then went onto climb Lhotse, the neighbouring peak that is the world’s fourth-highest mountain, just seven days later - an incredible feat of endurance.

The following season found him guiding close to home, working on an expedition to conquer the dauntingly-difficult, 8,485m pyramid of Makalu, reckoned to be among the most difficult of the 8,000ers. By 2010, he’d also summited Dhaulagiri, and was working as a lead guide on Everest.

An expert in high altitude rope fixing, Mingma Tenzi has worked on the climbing and rope fixing team on many of his expeditions, including on Gasherbrum I and Broad Peak in Pakistan. So it’s perhaps no wonder that when he, Nims and Mingma David set out to conquer K2 in winter, it was Mingma Tenzi who was chosen to lead the fixing of the high lines.

Highly trained, & hugely skilled

Mingma Tenzi’s wealth of practical experience is backed up by paperwork, with advanced mountaineering and rescue qualifications from the international recognised Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and the Nepal Mountaineering Instructors Association. Like his colleagues Nims and Mingma David, Mingma Tenzi has an impeccable safety record when operating in the world’s highest mountains, and his wealth of experience in both the Nepalese Himalayas and the Pakistani Karakorum makes him an invaluable asset to the Elite Exped leadership team.

Mingma Tenzi joined Elite Exped as a full partner in the spring of 2021, and later that season climbed Annapurna for the first time. The summit, achieved on April 16th, marked another huge step towards Mingma Tenzi’s eventual goal of climbing all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks. Having already climbed 10 of the 14, and with a glittering guiding and climbing career still ahead of him, it’s an objective he’s not far from achieving - and one that Elite Exped, and his fellow directors, will be supporting every step of the way.

Purja MBE

Former UK Special Forces Operator, the fastest person to climb all 14 x 8000ers, first winter ascent of K2, 10 x mountaineering world records, this truly is unparalleled leadership in the guiding world.

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