Above 26,000 feet, at the top of the world’s highest mountains, is the “death zone”, where the air is so thin that climbers need extra oxygen to survive. This was news to Ang Rita Sherpa; he led 18 expeditions to the top of mountains over 26,000 feet and never felt the need for it.

For a time he held the record for the most ascents of Everest, having climbed it ten times, and his record for the most ascents without supplemental oxygen still stands. He did not intend to set the record, it just happened, as one mountaineering team after another sought the help of the man who they had heard was the strongest sherpa of his generation.

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