Elite Expedition’s Mingma David Sherpa: First Winter Ascent of K2

Meet Mingma David Sherpa, an Athlete, and the Youngest Mountaineer to summit all 14 of 8000m peaks who was a key member of the First Winter Ascent of K2 by Elite Expedition, Setting Records and Defying Limits in the World of Mountaineering.

Mingma David Sherpa surely rings a bell to those in the mountaineering industry. In the last decade, he is one of the most prominent climber aka rescuers, who has become a global sensation for climbing all the 14 peaks in the world. He gained the success of Project Possible: 14/7 alongside Nirmal Purja, who led the campaign.

Starting his career as a porter, Mingma David Sherpa paved his way to the mountains through his hard work and endurance. Though his family had never been exposed to the mountaineering industry, Mingma broke the bars and became the first member of his family to climb the mountain. Not only that, but he eventually set many records, becoming a global sensation of his time. Today, he stands as a professional rescuer cum mountaineer who has achieved his accomplishments through an unparalleled ability for mountaineering.

Who Is Mingma David Sherpa?

Taking in the breathtaking views of London from The Shard, and hanging around this iconic landmark
Mingma Sherpa: Taking in the breathtaking views of London from The Shard, and hanging around this iconic landmark. Source: Instagram

If you are associated with the mountaineering industry, you must be familiar with the name Mingma David Sherpa. Well, Mingma David Sherpa is not just a name but is also a record since there are numerous accolades this porter-guide-cum-mountaineer has achieved at the age of 34.

Mingma David Sherpa is currently known as a professional mountaineer and rescuer. He has worked in the mountaineering industry for over one and a half decades since 2008. The journey which he honed as a porter-guide has now made him a successful mountaineer, head guide, and expedition leader.

Mingma was born on May 16, 1989, in Taplejung, Nepal, making him 34 years old. He works under the Elite Expedition led by the Guinness World Record holder, Nirmal Purja, known as Nims Dai. He was part of the 14 Peaks Summit Campaign launched via Elite Expedition, also covered in the documentary ‘14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, which stirred the attention of the whole world.

To introduce Mingma David Sherpa, he is the youngest mountaineer to scale up all the 14 peaks in the world. He is also the record holder of the ‘Fastest time to climb Everest and K2’ on the Guinness Book of World Records. Similarly, he has the records of the ‘First Winter Ascent in K2’ and ‘Most Ascents of K2.’

Mingma is a Nepalese Citizen who now works as rescuer and expedition leader.

14 Peaks Ascent With Elite Expedition | A Dare To Leap

14 Peaks Ascent With Elite Expedition

The ‘14 Peaks Ascent Campaign’ was called ‘Project Possible 14/7.’ The Project Possible: 14/7 included mountaineering crews from Nepal. They were Mingma Gyabu “David” Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi (Zekson Son), Geljen Sherpa, and Tensi Kasang. It was initiated under the influence of Nirmal Purja ‘Nims Dai,’ a former British Military and Nepalese Professional Mountaineer. The campaign started in 2019, and Mingma Sherpa, alongside his co-mountaineers, climbed the first mountain on 23 April 2019. Similarly, the team completed the first six-summit phase of the campaign on 24 May 2019.

In just one month, Mingma Sherpa, his leader Nirmal Purja, and his team summited six mighty peaks of Nepal. Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga, Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu, which are all 8000 meters above sea level, are very challenging to scale; however, it was always Mingma and his team’s cup of tea.

This accolade came as the world record as the last five peaks were climbed in just 12 days. Similarly, Mingma and his team broke another record by climbing Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu in just two days and 30 minutes. The first phase of scaling the peaks over 8000 meters was completed by May.

The second phase started in July 2019 in Pakistan. There were five peaks left to scale, all located in Pakistan. Mingma and his team initiated the summit campaign in Pakistan. They scaled Nanga Parbat (8126 m) on 3 July, Gasherbrum I (8080 m) on 15 July, Gasherbrum II (8034 m) on 18 July, K2 (8611 meters) on 24 July, and Broad Peak (8047 m) on 26 July.

The third phase of Project Possible: 14/7 started in September 2019 in Nepal again. Three peaks over 8000 meters were left to scale to wrap up the project. The professional team scaled Cho Oyu (8188 m) from Tibet on 23 September and Manaslu (8163 m) on 27 September. The last peak to climb was Sishapangma (8027 m). Mingma and his team had to go through legal formalities to obtain the climbing permits for Sishapangma, which they eventually achieved on 1 October 2019. On 29th of October 2019, Mingma David Sherpa and his team, including Nirmal Purja, successfully climbed Sishapangma and completed the Project Possible: 14/7 Expedition Campaign, writing their name in the history of mountaineering and Guinness Book of World Records.

Mingma David Sherpa’s K2 Expedition

mingma_david_sherpa k2 ascent

Mingma David Sherpa’s mountaineering accolade comes second to none. Having more than 15 years of extensive background in peak climbing, he has become one of the industry’s prominent figures.

Generally, off-season expeditions are labeled as one of the most dangerous acts on mountains. However, it was not a problem for Mingma Sherpa and his team members. Eventually, they decided to scale up the toughest mountain, Mount K2, to climb in winter’s toughest weather. Mingma joined the team with other fellow sherpa crews, including Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Geljen Sherpa, Pem Chiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, and the group leader, Nirmal Purja.

The crew set a record on 16 January 2021 by climbing Mount K2 in Winter. They became the first expedition team to reach the summit of this treacherous peak in winter after 1987. Their team leader Nirmal Purja also set a record by reaching the summit without any oxygen supplements in winter. Several obstacles hit the expedition, leading them to lose some equipment in the lower camps of K2. However, the crews worked perfectly as a team and successfully climbed Mount K2.

Scaling towering peaks isn’t just about physical prowess – it takes unwavering dedication, tireless hard work, and crucial decisions to ensure the safety and triumph of the entire team.

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Mingma David Sherpa Awards and Accolades

Mingma David Sherpa has been awarded many honors for his long-lasting mountaineering career and contribution. He received one of the Piolet d’Or Asia Awards with the title Sherpa of the Year by the Union of Asian Alpine Association (UAAA). The association addressed his contribution for ‘his commitment to technical climbings and positive environmental stewardship in the mountains in 2019.’

More about Mingma David Sherpa

More about Mingma David Sherpa
Anticipation builds as I look forward to standing on the mountain, where the only direction is up and the views are simply breathtaking.

Born in Taplejung, Nepal, Mingma David Sherpa grew up in the Sherpa Community. He spent most of his childhood in Phaktalung, Eastern Nepal. Though his surroundings were Sherpas, he was the first member of his family to get involved in mountaineering. No one before him had ever worked in the mountaineering industry. Just like his forefathers, Mingma Sherpa believed himself to be a farmer in remote Nepal, but as he grew up and touched his teenage phase, his dream got twisted into mountaineering.

One of the incidents that led him to become a mountaineer was the civil unrest in eastern Nepal. He was in Kathmandu to visit his cousins in 2008. However, due to the civil unrest, he did not get a chance to return, but it became more fruitful. At that time, he was in the ninth grade, but the incident compelled him to find a job. As he was looking for a job, he was offered a task of a porter for a trek, to which he agreed. This finally twisted his dream, and he leaned more into the mountaineering industry.

Being a Sherpa, Mingma was gifted with his natural and physical abilities to work as a trekker and porter. He supported many trekking clients in the remote areas of Nepal, including Annapurna, Langtang, and Manaslu. After a couple of years, he realized he was not made for trekking only; instead, he wanted something new career in his life. He mentioned, ‘I felt I could climb. I knew my body could perform well at altitude.” Eventually, he ended up taking several mountaineering and rescue courses.

With much confidence and experience, he approached highly-experienced Everest guide Dorje Khatri. Similarly, he completed the Advanced Mountaineering Training Course in 2012. Afterward, he got engaged in mountaineering gigs and successfully climbed several peaks like K2, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Manaslu.

Besides climbing mountains, he is highly acknowledged for guiding climbers to scale several mountains. He was the guide to leading Hari Budha Magar up Mera Peak in 2017. Hari Budha Magar is the double amputee climber who reached the top of Mera Peak with professional guidelines and support from Mingma Sherpa. Likewise, he has rescued more than 100 injured climbers successfully. One of his popular rescue mission was the 2016’s rescue of an Indian Climber from Everest’s Camp Four at 8,400 meters. He even set the record for the highest ‘long line’ rescue from 7400 meters on Dhaulagiri. Apart from that, he starred in the Everest Air documentary series in 2016.

Overall, Mingma David Sherpa has lived his mountaineering career to the fullest. With so much pride and records under his account, Sherpa helps other climbers reach the top of mountains. He facilitates the mountain expeditions through Elite Expedition, jointly with Nirmal Purja (Nims Dai). On his official website, he calls himself ‘A breaker of records, a builder of dreams.’

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