Mountain Men: Sherpas Who Became Legends
From left to right, Colonel John Hunt, Tenzing Norgay, and Edmund Hillary celebrate after becoming the first men to scale Mount Everest.George W. Hales/Fox Photos/Getty Images
The April 18, 2014 avalanche that claimed the lives of 13 Sherpa guides on Mount Everest trained the eyes of a saddened world on an extraordinary group of people.
These Nepalese climbers risk their lives taking adventurers -- novice and skilled alike -- up and down the most famous mountain on Earth. Sherpas have performed legendary feats over the years even though their pay and treatment has long been called into question. Following are several of the most famous Sherpas in the history of mountaineering.
Any list of top Sherpas is likely to begin with Tenzing Norga, who joined Edmund Hillary in making worldwide headlines in May of 1953 when he and the New Zealand mountaineer and explorer became the first two people ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest. His name is among the most well known in the history of mountaineering.
Apa Sherpa (R) enters the Guinness World Record book.Nawara J. Wagle/AFP/Getty Images
Most people think climbing Mount Everest even once is a lifetime achievement. Try doing it 21 times, as climbing legend Apa Sherpa has. Here Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday (L) hands Apa Sherpa a certificate marking the record-breaking 21st ascent of the world's highest peak.
Lakpa Gelu is best known as the one-time holder of the world record for the fastest climb to the peak of Mount Everest, which he accomplished in just under 11 hours on May 25 and 26 of 2003, besting a record set just days earlier by Pemba Dorjie.
Pemba Dorjie celebrates on May 26, 2003 in Katmandu, Nepal, after setting the record for being the fastest Mount Everest climber. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Pemba Dorjie was not out of the record books for long, however. Lapka Gelu's record swift-ascent of Everest was bested about one year later by Dorjie, who in 2004 reached the summit in just eight hours and 10 minutes, reclaiming his short-lived 2003 record.
Lukla-Everest Base Camp, NepalNichole Sobecki/Corbis
Youth hasn't been wasted on Nima Chhamzi, who on May 12, 2012 became the youngest female ever to summit Mount Everest, a feat she achieved at just 16 years of age.
Guinness World Record Chhurim SherpaPrakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images
Chhurim Sherpa holds the Guinness world record for women climbing Mount Everest twice in one climbing season, which she accomplished on May 12, 2012 and May 19, 2012. Here she poses with her Guinness world record certificate in Kathmandu on Feb. 25, 2013.
This dynamic duo made big adventurer headlines in 2012 for their climb of Mount Everest, which was followed by a paraglide down the fabled peak, whereupon the pair kayaked through Nepal and across the breadth of India out to the Indian Ocean. The three-month journey made climbing stars out of Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa and non-Sherpa Sano Babu Sunuwar.