…only motive was to raise  the national flag on top of Mt. Everest

Thinley Namgay  

Lieutenant Jigme Pelden Dorji, who returned to Bhutan yesterday after  successfully summiting  Mount Everest on May 20, clarified that he is not bothered about who is the first Bhutanese to summit Mount Everest.

On claims that  Karma Gyeltshen was first Bhutanese to climb Everest, Jigme Pelden Dorji said that  he received some queries on it. “If he had really climbed Mount Everest, that’s great, and I would be very happy,” he said, talking to the media. “In the end, any Bhutanese who summits Everest makes the country proud.”

Jigme Pelden Dorji, 24, who became the first to conquer Mount Everest, said his primary motive was only to raise the national flag on top of Everest. “I am happy that I did it.”



The officer of the Royal Bhutan Army said summiting Everest was a dangerous journey. He said that climbers die both in ascending and descending because  of factors like  insufficient oxygen, slip-ups, and falling ice. Nine climbers died this time when Jigme Pelden  Dorji conquered Mt Everest.

Most climbers before the summit told Jigme Pelden that climbing Mount Everest has become easy. However, he said it was not true. Jigme recalls that  the journey from camp four towards the final summit is faced with life-and-death situations. “This area is called the Hillary Step or the Death Zone. Many fail to proceed from that point, which is located one hour below the final summit,” he shared.

While entering the Hillary Step, Jigme almost lost his life. At that time, his guide, Chakra Rai, told him that his oxygen was going to finish in 17 minutes and instructed him to change it immediately.

Jigme thought he could stay without oxygen for a while, but the guide removed his oxygen mask, and instantly Jigme’s body began to react.

Jigme said that he thought he was going to die.

The guide, while trying to replace the oxygen mask, broke the regulator. “My guide put his own oxygen mask on me and proceeded without oxygen to complete the summit,” he said.

“While going through the Death Zone, I felt like someone was always helping me. Luck is also needed,” Jigme said, adding that with the blessings of His Majesty The King, guardian deities, Zhung Dratshang, family and relatives, and prayers from all Bhutanese, his journey was made possible.

Jigme Pelden also said that while ascending, climbers lose their appetite and became weak. He survived mostly on Koka noodles and hot water. He used an oxygen mask only from camp three, which is 7,300 metres above sea level.



Summiting Everest involves a huge sum of money. Jigme Pelden spent around Nu 5 million as an expedition fee besides incurring around Nu 700,000 to purchase special mountain gears.

Travel agents in Bhutan – dusitD2, Hotel Dralha, 8 Eleven, Loden Foundation, and Yangphel sponsored Jigme Pelden’s expedition. “I want to thank all my sponsors for making this possible. I have displayed their logos and banners on Mount Everest as a token of appreciation.”

As a fit and well-trained officer, Jigme Pelden saved the cost by carrying his own load. Some climbers paid their guide USD 1,500 to 2,000 to carry their load.  Initially, Jigme Pelden could carry 14kg  and towards the final push, he carried 8kg. “My guide only carried my sleeping bag.”


An invitation from a Sherpa

One and a half years ago, The Lieutenant  received an invitation from the chairperson of Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure Pvt Ltd, Passang Tenzin Sherpa to summit Mount Everest. After  some research on mountain climbing, Jigme Pelden accepted the invitation.

The officer underwent adequate high-altitude travel both in Bhutan and Nepal. He said that coming from a mountainous country, he acclimatised faster. He was the youngest one in his team.

On reaching the base camp, the guides trained them further by trekking to high altitudes. The guides kept extra oxygen at different camps.

At the Paro airport yesterday, Jigme was welcomed by family members, bureaucrats, government representatives, students, monks, and members of the armed forces.

Traditional Bhutanese ceremonial greetings were conducted both at the airport and Shaba Army office. Jigme Pelden said Bhutanese youth should work hard to fulfill their dreams. Thousands of citizens applauded Jigme’s journey.

One of the students said that Jigme Pelden Dorji has become an icon for the youth and he will work hard like Jigme hereafter.

“Jigme’s incredible achievement showcases his determination and resilience and demonstrates that with courage and perseverance, even the highest goals can be achieved. Jigme’s success is a source of immense inspiration and pride for all Bhutanese,” shared the Prime Minister’s office on social media.