Sons of Everest: “Of course everyone wants to stand on top of the world once in their life”

Had he been born in the West his life may have been less interesting, says Tshering Pande Bhote.

Deep in a remote area of NE Nepal, Tshering Pande Bhote was born number 6 out of 11 children. Spending 2 years in a monastery from the age of eight, when some of the older siblings passed Bhote was dispatched to India to cut firewood, pulling logs from the jungle to the road.

On return home Bhote found his dad drinking and the family struggling financially due to the loss of their kids.

The young Nepalese took off for the city, trying to find a future in Kathmandu. Lacking education or experience life proved hard there too.

Tshering left for Khumjung in the Everest region, tending to yaks and a tea house without pay for 6 years. “I got free food and lodging and was treated as family,” he explains.

The stay became a turning point. The region introduced Bhote to the growing mountaineering scene and the young herder grabbed his chance.

Returning to Kathmandu, Bhote convinced his younger brother, a Gurkha soldier, to bankroll his startup. He took up English, trained as trekking staffer and then learned climbing.

Fast forward to this past spring season: News arrived Explorersweb from the Pythom community that Mount Everest south side route had been fixed. Sender: Tshering Pande Bhote – 7 time Everest summiteer, certified mountain guide and long line helicopter rescue instructor.

They say luck favors the bold. Tshering landed Norwegian clients for his first Everest gigs and judging from his schedule it seems he cornered the tiny, but oil-rich market. Lill’ bro got a fine return on investment and Bhote is skiing Switzerland these days. What a climb.

Kicking off the emergent fall season (Tshering is off tomorrow to climb Manaslu and Annapurna), here goes our chat with a local star from Everest land.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Hi there Tshering, how did you get mountain guide certified?

Tshering Pande Bhote: There was no institution for it in Nepal when I first started my training as an international certified mountain guide so I went abroad. I took navigation and rock training in Glenmore lodge, Scotland, and got my basic and advance mountaineering course from the Nepal Mountaineering Association(NMA).

I took the ENSA instructor level course in France, Chamonix , then went to New Zealand to become IFMGA certified mountain guide but finished only half way as we established the Nepal National Mountain Guide association, became full member of IFMGA and got certified in 2009.

Explorersweb/Pythom: You are a long line helicopter rescue specialist (instructor) as well. How did you get that education?

Tshering Pande Bhote: I was trained in Switzerland with Air Zermatt for their search and rescue organization in Nepal (SARON 1199) founded by me and Capt. Sidhartha.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What are the most memorable rescues you were involved in?

Tshering Pande Bhote: My best memory is my first mission with Capt. Garold Binner. We rescued a climber from Manaslu by long line.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What’s most fun – to climb or fly?

Tshering Pande Bhote: I like both but I prefer climbing.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Is climbing a passion or strictly just a job for you?

Tshering Pande Bhote: It started as a job but now it is passion.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Who is your favorite climber?

Tshering Pande Bhote: I don’t have any favorites but I have high respect for climbers from before 1985, such as sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Explorersweb/Pythom: You have now climbed Everest 7 times, how did it feel to summit the first time?

Tshering Pande Bhote: Extremely proud. But each time is different and I still feel the joy very much.

Explorersweb/Pythom: How has the mountain changed since you first climbed it?

Tshering Pande Bhote: Not only the mountain but the whole world is changing rapidly due to global warming. Our outfit Top Himalaya guides Pvt Ltd is changing style to the old ways of climbing because of it – clean, simple and safe without needless and wasteful luxury.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Sherpas are increasingly taking over guiding in Himalaya, why do you think that is?

Tshering Pande Bhote: It’s their heritage and they are born with altitude fitness. But we must remember Sherpas are not all climbers.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Is it true that many clients today know nothing/very little about altitude and mountaineering?

Tshering Pande Bhote: I wouldn’t say exactly that but I do see some climbers behave a bit awkward on the mountain and in nature.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What would be your ideal client?

Tshering Pande Bhote: My clients have to either know climbing very well or they have to trust me and listen to me. That way I can give them full safety and security along with success.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What is your opinion on Everest crowding and what are your plans for 2017?

Tshering Pande Bhote: Of course everyone would like to stand on top of the world once in their life.

In a way I don’t think Everest is really crowded because I see more people on other famous mountains too, but Mt. Everest is probably more interesting to write about.

I’ll be guiding the TP Karma Norwegian expedition on Mount Everest next spring.

I’ll go skiing in Switzerland and France in winter and I’ll be guiding in Norway in summer. The remains of the year I’ll be in Nepal teaching new mountain guides and long line rescue specialist.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What career choices would you have done if you were born in US or Europe you think?

Tshering Pande Bhote: My life might have been less interesting had I been born in US or Europe. I am so glad that I was born in Nepal and I’ll try to do lots of good things for my country.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What does your family think about the risks you are taking?

Tshering Pande Bhote: My family members fully support me and my adventure life. I really appreciate my family. I couldn’t achieve this much without them. Actually I don’t see any thing is without risk. Life itself is always a risk.

(Ed note: Tshering Bhote practically grew up with (1999) and Explorersweb (2003). “I think Explorersweb is the best adventure online news,” he ends this interview, and the story continues: Check back in next spring, when Bhote has promised to whistle for us.)

Tshering Pande Bhotes climbing resume: Everest (7 times), Cho-oyu (3 times), Shishapangma, Dhaulagiri, Ama Dablam (8 times). Lower peaks: Chulu (East, West and Center), Lobuche, Island, Mera, Mehra, Pogalden, Yala, Tuckche peak, Lakpa ri.

New Zealand: Mt. Cook (3 different routes, Kiwi Sherpa new route March 15, 2005 for Edmund Hilary). Mt. Haidinger first ascents in July 2004 (SE face) and Mt. Mallory first winter ascent July 3, 2004.

Ben Nevis, Mont Blanc (3 different routes) and many peaks in the Chamonix area, Kilimanjaro, Denali, all +2000m peaks in Norway.

Bhote was recipient of the 2015 Kumar Khadga Bikram Adventurous Award


The Everest Perspective from Nepal: Interview with Tshering Pande Bhote

Lobsang Sherpa falls to his death on Lhotse Face ( Simrik Air Capt. Siddhartha Gurung (Nepal), Capt. Daniel Brunner (Switzerland) and the Nepalese Mountain Rescue Team effort)

ExWeb Everest Debrief: The First Norwegian Lady (2004) about Sherpas (1999)