Chhiring Dorje Sherpa, an accomplished Nepalese-born mountaineer, has been a Steamboat Springs local since 2014 and a huge part of Big Agnes’ culture as an employee, a close friend and a trusted gear tester. Not only has he been instrumental at testing our gear under some of the harshest environments imaginable, he has also spent time with our product development team helping make improvements to products that will help on his big-mountain expeditions.
While developing our new line of mountaineering tents, we asked Chhiring how we could improve the construction of the Battle Mountain tent. Along with some small technical tweaks, he insisted that first the color must be changed. Chhiring was adamant that we make his 2018 expedition tents golden yellow. Chhiring wanted his tent golden yellow to honor the skin color of the Himalayan goddess, Miyo Losangma, who inhabits Mt. Everest.
Miyo Losangma is the goddess of prosperity and good fortune. For those who don’t offend her and are grateful, she is generous and giving. On the 20th anniversary of Chhiring’s first summit of Everest, his tents will stand apart for exhausted climbers and pay tribute to Miyo Losangma.
We sat down with Chhiring to ask him some of the questions that get asked most commonly around the office while he’s off attempting another summit halfway across the world. Here’s a little bit of what he had to say in his best Sherpa English:
Big Agnes: What is it like to be on top of Everest 16 times?
Chhiring Dorje Sherpa: “Feels normal to me because I’ve done it so many times and it’s my job, but I love doing it every time.”
Big Agnes: What continues to be the biggest challenge?
Chhiring Dorje Sherpa: “The weather, mostly. It’s one of the hardest things to deal. Also, sometime the climbers themselves, though not often. We check their ability and stamina ahead of time.”
Big Agnes: What’s the next big trip with Big Agnes gear?
Chhiring Dorje Sherpa: “Doing Everest again in four months from now. Also, my goal is to do all the 8,000 meter peaks. I’ve done 7 of the 14 of them without oxygen.”
Big Agnes: Do you feel that it is harder to climb up the mountain or come down the mountain?
Chhiring Dorje Sherpa: “It is much harder to come down. The terrain is more difficult coming downhill and people are more tired coming down. Each trip is about 35 days total.”
Chhiring first began his expedition career as a porter at the age of 16, and has since led more than 45 successful expeditions to ten 8,000 meter peaks. He is also the founder of adventure company Rolwaling Excursions. To learn more about Chhiring and how to book an expedition in the Himalayan Mountains, click here.