"Because it's there."
- George Mallory, when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, 1923.
Ang Ngima was born in 1978 in the town of Makalu, in eastern Nepal. His family were kind-hearted simple folk who lived of land and opportunity. His father, Palau Ngima was a yak herder, his side of the family had been Yak herders in the hills around Makalu for hundreds of years, Palau worked in the hills with Ang's grandfather, Palau senior. A devout Buddhist, Ang's father was set in his ways, but also very cheerful and kind to everyone in his life, he made sure to bring his son up with the exact same morals. His mother, Laaj, was very much the same, instead, she had stayed at home to take care of both the house and Ang, when he was old enough to help herd yak with his father and grandfather, she began working as a cook in a local tourist restaurant as she did before she was married.
When he was young, Ang was adventurous and very stubborn, he spent his free time hiking to visit many various temples and landmarks that scattered the valley, often to the dismay of his parents, who were worried regarding how far he actually went. This was most likely due to his fascination with climbing. His village was a common stopping point for would be climbers and guides from all over the world, they were the patrons in his mother's restaurant and the ones who hired his father's yak for hauling loads, suffice to say, they were an important part of life for the locals. Ang had heard the stories of their expeditions, stories of conquering the vast, towering mountains that surrounded his home. Stories that, for sure, inspired him to follow a certain career path that would change his life forever.
In 1994, when he was 16, Ang announced to his parents that he wished to cease work herding yak to become a Sherpa Mountaineer, helping foreign expeditions climb the various mountains of the Himalia. It was a difficult and often dangerous profession, even for the strongest of men, therefore Ang wanted to begin gaining experience and eventually find work. He sought guidance from an experienced climber who lived in his village, Dhonu Batsa. Dhonu had led a prosperous career working for various expeditions climbing mountains on Nepal, he had first summited Cho Oyu, the 6th tallest mountain, in 1980, and went on to conquer every notable peak in Nepal, including Mt Everest in 1986 and 1990. Ang managed to convince Dhonu to offer him work on his smaller expeditions, where he spent most of his time hauling goods for paying clients and doing various tasks, but he wasn't given the opportunity to do any climbing. A year later, when Ang was 17, Dhonu announced he was impressed with Ang's efforts, and that he would train him to not only climb mountains but support the clients who would inevitably hire him to do so. Three months later, Ang would accompany Dhonu on an expedition up Pumori, a notable peak on the Nepal-Tibet border, Ang, Dhonu and 3 other sherpas were tasked with hauling equipment for 6 clients up and down the mountain, setting up tents, cooking food and both mapping a route up the mountain and setting fixed ropes for the climbers to clip into and follow, all whilst making sure they were safe. It was tough work for average pay, but Ang, like most Sherpas, didn't mind, as the opportunity to climb a mountain was as exciting for them as it was to the clients.
The expedition was successful, and Ang had managed to climb his first peak in 1995 at the age of 17, his career prospects would only grow from then on.