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A Climber We Lost: Ngimi Tenji Sherpa

Each January we post a farewell tribute to those members of our community lost in the year just past. Some of the people you may have heard of, some not. All are part of our community and contributed to climbing.


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You can read the full tribute to Climbers We Lost in 2022 here.

Ngimi Tenji Sherpa, 38, April 14

Ngima Tenji Sherpa, 38, was a lifelong climber and veteran high-altitude worker. A native of Waku, in the Solukhumbu District of eastern Nepal, Ngima Tenji had summited Everest (8,048 m) four times in previous seasons and been a member of a dozen expeditions to the peak since 2004. He had also summited Shishapangma (8,027 m), Manaslu (8,163 m), and Himlung Himal (7,126 m/23,380 ft), among other achievements. Ngima Tenji was a longtime employee of International Mountain Guides (IMG), for whom he was working at the time of his death on Everest in April. 

Along with approximately a dozen other IMG high-altitude workers, Ngima Tenji was in the process of ferrying loads from Everest Base Camp to Camp I and II early on the morning of April 14, in preparation for the building of the expedition’s Camp II setup that day. While moving through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, near an uncharacteristically wide, flat section halfway up known as the “football field,” Ngima Tenji apparently collapsed. He was found dead at approximately 4:00 am local time, sitting next to the trail, still wearing his backpack. His remains were flown off the mountain by helicopter shortly after.

Initial investigations reported that there was no illness, fall, avalanche, or other trauma was involved in Ngima Tenji’s death, leading to the conclusion that he had suffered an unexplained medical emergency. “[The] initial medical check suggests high-altitude sickness,” said Pasang Tsering Sherpa, a local IMG partner.

The tragedy marked the first fatality of the 2022 Everest season. (Note: A number of news outlets incorrectly identified the deceased as IFMGA guide Nima Tenji Sherpa, founder of Kaitu Expedition.)

“The expedition had been going well for our IMG teams, so the events today have been a big shock to everyone,” read an update posted by IMG head Greg Vernovage. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ngima’s family in Waku, as well as with the rest of our IMG climbers and Sherpas.”

—Owen Clarke

You can read the full tribute to Climbers We Lost in 2022 here.