April 25, 2011
Easter morning, I received an email from Yangdu Gombu, daughter of famed mountaineer, Nawang Gombu, letting me know that her father had passed away. Many stories will be written about Gombu and they will all be true. Jim Whittaker was Gombu’s partner when they climbed Everest together in 1963. Gombu returned in 1965 with an Indian expedition, becoming the first man to summit Everest TWICE.
I first met Gombu in the summer of 1971 while I was a young apprentice guide. My partners, George Dunn and Eric Simonson, and I had the great privilege of sharing days with Gombu on Rainier, Denali, Everest and Kanchenjunga – doing our best to learn and just to try absorb a bit of his spirit, humility and grace.
Funeral services will be held in Darjeeling on April 28th.
Those who knew him will remember a kind spirit, a powerful mountain climber and simply a great friend. The mountaineering world has lost a true icon.