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Sherpas Return to Utah After Successful Mount Everest Climb

Sherpas Return to Utah After Successful Mount Everest Climb

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Ed Yeates Reporting Two Sherpas who usually help others become heroes, returned to Salt Lake City today as heroes themselves! There was a celebration at the airport as they stepped off the plane.

Although Apa and Lhakpa are now Utah residents, they are both Sherpas, native to the Himalaya. They've climbed Mount Everest many times, but as porters for Western and European expeditions. But this time, it was their own expedition.

Apa and Lhakpa returned to Salt Lake today their own heroes. They successfully led an all Sherpa expedition to the top of Mount Everest.

Base Camp Manager Jerry Mika says, "This team, for the record book, was the strongest team in the history of Everest. It was all family, 55 ascents between family members, no Western climbers."

Lhakpa's wife was at the airport. So was Apa's. Three of Lhakpa's children came with him. They too now will become residents of Utah.

Lhakpa Sherpa says, "I bring my kids with me today. They are very, very happy."

Lhakpa's wife Fulima says, "People, my husband and Apa going climbing. My kids in Nepal; me so sad. And now, I'm happy!"

This oxygen bottle went to the top with the climbers, signed by all the members of the team.

Apa Sherpa says, "Today, I feel proud. Very happy to see all you guys here. (Laughs)"

Part of the proceeds from upcoming publications and a documentary about this climb will go back to the people of Himalaya to help pay for their children's education and health care.

Apa Sherpa says, "I feel very proud. Our main goal has been a great success."

But along with celebration, comes sadness. At the same time Apa and Lhakpa successfully led their expedition to the top and others on other climbs didn't make it.

Jerry Mika says, "We lost a dear friend two days. I can't talk about that. Her name was Penadoma and she spent some time here. And it was sad. We lost three very special friends."

In addition to world records already held by Lhakpa and Apa, medical researchers from TOSH and the University of Utah are studying their stamina and physical makeup to find out how Sherpas survive so well in extreme conditions.

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