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 Touching My Father's Soul : A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay

Touching My Father's Soul : A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay, Jon Krakauer (Introduction), His Holiness the Dalai Lama 

Jamling Tenzing Norgay

Jamling Tenzing Norgay was born on April 23, 1965, in Darjeeling, India, the fourth of six children. By age six, he had already shown a penchant for peaks, scaling mountains in Sikkim with his father, Tenzing Norgay, who with Sir Edmund Hillary, became the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Jamling quickly became his father's right-hand man on climbs organized by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.

In 1985, Jamling moved to the U.S. to attend Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where he studied business administration and graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While there, he worked as a black-belt instructor in karate and Tae Kwon Do. In 1986, Tenzing passed away, and Norgay began to think more seriously about Everest.

In 1996, Jamling Tenzing Norgay summitted Everest, just two weeks after nine people died on Everest. Not only did Jamling Tenzing Norgay make it to the top of Everest—described by the Sherpa people as “The Mother Goddess of the World”—but he also helped capture it all on film. As the star of Director David Breashears Imax film Everest, Norgay helped to portray not only the physical challenges of the Mountain, but also the mental and spiritual challenges faced by the climbers.

imax.gif (11898 bytes) Everest has played to sold-out audiences across the country, capturing for the first time on large format film the breathtaking view from Everest's summit. For his bravery in assisting with climbers on Everest 1996, Norgay received His Holiness The Dalai Lama's Award, as well as the National Citizen's award from the President of India. Norgay is the tenth person in the Norgay family to stand at the top of the world.

Norgay recalls feeling so happy that he cried. A Buddhist, he placed a lungta (prayer flag) and photos of the Dalai Lama and his late parents in the summit snow. Then, just as his father had done 43 years earlier, he left a small toy of his daughter’s and struck “the pose”—the same dignified stance his father had assumed in 1953, which had etched an indelible image in the minds of the millions who had read about it afterward.

Today Norgay runs his adventure travel company in Darjeeling, India and is often asked whether there are more big summits in his future. “I promised my wife that after Everest, I would never climb again,” says Norgay. “I will not break my word.” He lives in Darjeeling, India with his wife and daughter.

Destiny reserves the telling of some tales for specific people. In Touching My Father’s Soul, Jamling Tenzing Norgay tells a story unlike any other accounts of climbing Mount Everest, a profound adventure that entwines the lives of a family, a mountain, and a people. As Climbing Leader of the famed David Breashears IMAX expedition, Norgay was able to follow in the footsteps of his legendary mountaineer father, Tenzing Norgay. For Jamling, climbing the mountain that the Tibetan Sherpas call Chomolungma was part of his heritage and his destiny. While Jamling’s father was the first and most famous climber in the family, a total of twelve relatives have successfully made it to the summit. For the Norgays, climbing this mountain and living in its shadow is about living with the mountain, not fighting against it. For the Sherpas, this mountain is in fact The Mother Goddess of the world.

Jamling interweaves the story of his own dramatic climb with little-known stories from his father’s own historic ascent, allowing us to see what has changed in the fifty years since this mountain has been climbed—and what has not. Fatigue and storms and lack of oxygen are the dangers that all climbers must face, but here the magnificence and rigors of climbing to the top of the world provide the backdrop to an expedition that is as much sacred journey as it is adventure. Divinations, prayer wheels, and sacred scrolls are indispensable in life, Norgay writes, and they are especially needed on ascents that “are recognized as being successful only when the climber returns alive.” 

There have been a number of bestselling books about Everest. Touching My Father’s Soul is the only one told in the previously unheard voice of the Sherpas. The purpose of the book is not simply to present yet another telling of climbing Mount Everest or the tragic events of the 1996 disaster, although these are discussed from the Sherpa perspective. This book shows us a world that few, even among those who have made it to the top, have ever seen. Along the way we discover Tibetan Buddhist insights that are relevant to all of our lives. At the top of Everest, Jamling finds more than personal triumph; he finds family honor and his father’s soul.

Touching My Father's Soul : A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay, Jon Krakauer (Introduction), His Holiness the Dalai Lama 



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