Nawang Gombu passes away

Nawang Gombu, the first person to climb Mt Everest twice, died in Darjeeling at his residence Monday morning after a brief illness, family sources said. Being the youngest Sherpa to reach South Col during the first successful expedition in 1953, Gombu first climbed Mt Everest along with Jim Whittaker during American Everest Expedition in 1963. He then set a new record when he scaled the world's highest peak again in 1965 along with Capt Awarae Singh Cheema as members of Indian Everest Expedition. The South Col usually refers to the southern route between Mount Everest and Lhotse, the first and fourth highest mountains in the world. Other Himalayan peaks climbed by Gombu included Makalu, Sakang, Saser Kangri, Nanda Devi, Cho Oyu, Koktang and Ratong.
Gombu was part of the first group of Sherpa mountaineers who along with Tenzing Norgay completed a guide course in Switzerland in 1954. They became the backbone of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), an idea pushed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He retired from HMI as its Director of Field Training after more than 40 years of service. For his climbing and teaching accomplishments, Gombu was awarded Padma Bhusan, Padma Shree, the Arjuna Award, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation Gold Medal and the Tenzing Norgay Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation medal from Her Majesty and Hubbard medal from National Geographic Society.