In the world of mountaineering, there are badasses, and then there are sherpas: They exist in a class of their own, climbing tirelessly and with natural skills that put climbers from anywhere else to shame. Apa Sherpa, profiled in May's BACKPACKER Interview, just broke the record by summiting Everest for the 18th time. To give you some perspective, burly climber Dave Hahn has the record for western climbers with a comparatively paltry nine times on top.
Of course, Apa had some stiff competition to get to the top; He had to beat his own record of 17 to take the crown...from himself. Apa Sherpa recently moved to Salt Lake City, where he works as an injection molder when not leading expeditions. He also mentions that his wife isn't so hot on him risking life and limb in the highest places of the world. Perhaps sneaking past his better half to get to his record-making expedition was harder than the summit climb itself.
Learn more about Apa Sherpa and fastest-ascent record holder Lhakpa Gelu in "The Porter's Progress."
— Ted Alvarez