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7 April

Phurpu Ridar Bhote - The climber who is a Priest

At the age of 63, Phurpu Bhote was the oldest Nepali Climber at the Everest Base Camp in this 2021 spring season. Mr. Bhote was climbing Everest as one of the climbing Sherpas with Madison Mountaineering/ Himalayan Guides. Phurpu is from Hungung, Sankhuwasabha, a village close to the Tibet Border in eastern Nepal and home to Mt. Makalu, the 5th highest mountain in the Planet. Humble Phurpu is a man of few words and shows his climbing skills and strength in the mountain.

 From a farmer tending potatoes and barley farms and cattle in remote Northeastern Nepal, he has completely transformed himself as a force of Nepal’s Mountaineering Industry with little or no formal mountaineering training. He honed his climbing skills and techniques with western climbers in his initial days while working as high altitude porter. With about 17 Everest summits on his belt in his long mountaineering career, he is a force to be reckoned with.

His elder son Pasang Lama Bhote survived K2 mayhem in 2008 and is a ferocious climber. Pasang has summited Everest 6 times and several other Mountains above 8000m. His younger son Dawa Phinjo Lama Bhote is also an acclaimed climber and a certified International Mountain guide with 7 Everest summit under his belt. Phurpu Bhote and his sons Pasang and Dawa are the only father son duos to have summited Everest 5 times together, that too from both Nepal and Tibet sides.

Mr. Phurpu Bhote is one of the first professional Climbers from the Bhotkhola region to summit Everest and paved the path for many other climbers from his native villages. He is also the only person to have summited Everest with his son Dawa Phinjo three times. Phurpu loves being in the mountains and does not put earning money as a priority to do so. This time around, he did not feel very fit because of prolonged lockdown with virtually no activities in the mountain for a year due to global COVID 19 crisis. He finds life in the cities mundane and prefers the serenity of the high altitudes.

Phurpu summited Everest on May 23rd 2021 and became the Oldest Nepali Climber to do so this season despite some ailment. He went as a climbing Sherpa with Himalayan Guides. Phurpu is a legend to be reckoned and a true hero of the climbing world. The little stature old man has made climbing possible for many. He says, this may be his last attempt but he always prefers the mountains as a place for him to rest in peace when his time comes. And it is in the Himalayas, the place he loves and reveres, the place he chose to earn his bread and butter to support the family, the place he has spent most of his life. He has earned respect and cemented his legacy in the pages of Mountaineering History globally. He is the epitome of strong willed person who proves that will to climb precedes formal training if dedication persists.

Phurpu receives praises from one of the best and living legend Guy Cotter.

Guy Cotter

I’ve climbed with him on many occasions and have really enjoyed his effervescent humour!


Story by - Suraj Paudyal