May 23: Looks can be deceptive. At 16, Temba Tsheri Sherpa looks like any ordinary schoolboy from Kathmandu. But look closely. He is the youngest person to scale the world’s highest peak – the 8,848-metre-high Mount Everest, The Telegraph newspaper reported.

Reaching the Top of the World
Reaching the Top of the World [Illustration by Anup Singh]
By climbing the peak 16 days after his 16th birthday, on May 22, he broke the record set by another Nepali climber, Shambu Tamang, in 1973, at the age of 17.

He battled against high winds and struggled through deep snow to reach the summit – at last. For, fate had failed him on his first attempt a year ago. He was just 22 metres away from the summit, but could not scale the peak because of frostbite, exhaustion and deteriorating weather, and had to turn back. He lost five fingers to frostbite.

But as they say, courage has no limits and determination has no boundaries. So Temba Tsheri tried again this year and became the youngest person to do so.

The first thing he did on the peak was to hoist two flags on the summit – one of his country, Nepal’s national flag, the other of his school, Sidhartha Vanasthali Institute.

To prepare his physical and mental stamina, he had scaled the 5,900-metre Yela Peak in the Langtang Valley in Nepal last month.

An eighth grade student, Temba Tsheri was given a colourful farewell a day before his climb. The school also decided to help him by donating Rs. 50,000 for his expedition.

Barely a teenager, his determination is awesome. The loss of five fingers hasn’t dampened the boy’s spirits. “It does not matter that I lost those fingers,” he said. “I can still function normally and climb without any difficulties or problems.”