All-Star Sherpas Prep for Everest and Kangchenjunga

In Nepal, outfitters are preparing for the upcoming Himalayan season. Those in charge of leading the rope-fixing teams on the 8,000’ers are particularly busy. This year, the two most popular peaks will be Everest — no surprise there — and Kangchenjunga.

Kami Rita, Sona, and Sanu Sherpa lead the way

Nepal’s Expedition Operators’ Association (EOA) assigns the contract for rope fixing Everest. The recipient this year is again Seven Summit Treks. An all-star team of eight Sherpa guides will shoulder the responsibility, led by Kami Rita Sherpa and Sona Sherpa.

At 51, Kami Rita has become an Everest institution. Already with a record of 25 summits, he is going for his 26th this year. Co-leader Sona Sherpa is a rising star who was one of the 10 summiters on last year’s Winter K2 climb. Sona’s career also includes 5 Everests, 9 Manaslus, plus 1 Dhaulagiri, 1 Makalu, and 1 Gasherbrum II.

Sona Sherpa will guide his sixth Everest summit in a few weeks. He is considered one of the strongest Sherpas working today. Photo: Sona Sherpa/Instagram


Everyone is particularly hurrying because of Seven Summit Treks’ new, ambitious deadline. They want to finish fixing the route by the end of April to enable summit pushes throughout May.

Sanu Sherpa goes for a double

On Kangchenjunga, Pioneer Adventure supplies the rope-fixing team. Their best man, Sanu Sherpa, will lead the crew.

Sanu is close to climbing all 14 of the 8,000m peaks twice. He may achieve it this year. After Kangchenjunga, which he has “only” summited once, he heads to Makalu. Then he just needs Gasherbrum II (usually climbed in summer) to complete the feat.

By the way, Sanu is the guy who celebrated arriving at the summit of K2 last summer with some push-ups:

Near Sikkim

Director Mingma Dorchi, fresh from the winter attempt on Cho Oyu’s SSW Ridge, will lead the Pioneer Adventure expedition on Kangchenjunga. The team is ready and has all the hardware needed to fix the long route to the summit. “We are sending the equipment by helicopter to Base Camp, but the rope-fixing team and the clients will trek in,” CEO Ngaa Tenji told ExplorersWeb.

Men and gear bound for Kangchenjunga. Photo: Pioneer Adventure


Kangchenjunga, located in a remote border area near Sikkim, is the easternmost of the 8,000’ers. The path in to Base Camp traverses several valleys and is considered one of the longest and most strenuous trekking routes in Nepal.

In our Climbers’ Guide to Kangchenjunga, Nives Meroi and Romano Benet noted that even the new, shorter trail takes five or six days. “The two last days on glacial terrain are especially difficult for the porters,” they recalled. So they, at least, will welcome using helicopters to ferry supplies.