I’m very sad today. Nawang Gombu (pictured on the left) passed away last night.
To the rest of the world, he was one of the many sherpas who assisted Sir Edmond Hillary on his famous ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953. Later, Gombu became famous in his own right as the first man to summit Mt. Everest twice. To me, he was the unassuming, bubbly mountaineer who first taught me how to use an ice ax and travel on a roped team.
I will never forget his peals of laughter as he sent us hurtling down steep snow slopes. “Arrest! Arrest!” Giggle. “Arrest!” Giggle. Eleven years later, I still hold the memory of that day and of Nawang Gombu dear in my heart. I am so grateful to have known him and hope his family finds peace in the coming weeks.