SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – He’s the only human being in the world to have climbed Mount Everest 21 times and he calls Utah home. Wednesday friends, family and fans welcomed Apa Sherpa home at the Salt Lake City International Airport. This was his return from his 21st and final climb of the 30,000 foot mountain.
“I made it yea, that's good!” said Sherpa.
“Apa is my hero. He's like superman to me,” said Sherpa’s friend Jerry Mika.
Mount Everest’s summit is 30,000 feet high. It reaches to the same altitude that commercial airlines fly.
“And talking to Apa just now he said he couldn't even take his glass off, his goggles this year, because it was so cold. You're talked minus 60 to 70 degrees on Everest this year,” said Mika
These climbs aren’t for Sherpa’s personal achievements. Sherpa raises money to fund education in his homeland of Nepal.
“Without education we have no choice. My goal is to helping with children's education,” said Sherpa.
Sherpa and Mike have already helped build a library in Nepal. Now they’re hoping the Apa Sherpa Foundation can do a lot more.
“I mean the average wage for a teacher in his village is 700 dollars a year. So, we're trying to actually raise enough capital to keep teachers in his village,” said Mika.
Over the past several years Sherpa has also helped bring down 14,500 kilos of trash. That equates to 16 tons or, more logically, two elephants worth of garbage. But right now he’s just enjoying being home in Utah.
“I'm very glad to be here to see my family and see my old friends. All my neighbors,” said Sherpa.
Now Sherpa plans to build his non-profit, The Apa Sherpa Foundation by writing a book and public speaking.