Fifty-one-year-old Cering Dorjee is head of Men's Mountaineering Team in the Tibet Autonomous Region. He used to be an ordinary farmer. In 1979, he began climbing, doing transport for mountaineering teams.
"I trained for a month before working with the mountaineering teams. I transported materials as high as 7,000 meters to make a living," Cering said.
It was then that he discovered his love of climbing. His excellent health and his outstanding abilities enabled him to be a member of China's national mountaineering team.
In 1988, China, Japan and Nepal sent climbers to assault both the northern and southern ridges of Mount Qomolangma, or Mount Everest as it is known in the West. Cering, representing China, reached the summit first, and set a world record by remaining there for 99 minutes without supplemental oxygen. As his journey took him up the northern slope and down the southern, Cering became known as "the first man to cross Mount Qomolangma."
Cering made rapid progress in climbing achievements, but in his early thirties, his excellent health was threatened by an accident. In autumn of 1991, while ascending the peak of Nanjabawa, a sudden snowslide forced Cering to stay behind and ward off snow, covering his team's evacuation. Standing for more than one hour in meter-deep snow, he lost two toes to frostbite.
Although handicapped by the loss of two toes, Cering continued his mountaineering career. In 1992, China made Cering head of an expedition team. His team would be tasked with ascending the world's 14 tallest peaks, called the "eight-thousanders" for their altitudes of over 8,000 meters above sea level.
The expedition team set off in April 1993. On July 12, 2007, the team became the only one in the world to have successfully completed the feat of ascending all 14 "eight-thousanders."
"Our team is closer than family because we must rely on each other while ascending mountains over 6,500 meters above sea level," he said.
In October 2004, Cering joined the Communist Party of China.
"Most members of our team are Party members, and I had long wanted to join. There would be no great development of the sport of mountaineering without the help of the Communist Party of China," he said.
The Tibet Autonomous Government approved the establishment of China's first high-altitude rescue team in December last year, with Cering as the deputy head.
"It's necessary to set up such a rescue team, because every year climbers encounter dangers of sudden climate change, avalanche, and altitude sickness in the Himalayas," he said.