To experienced climbers everywhere, Ang Dorjee Sherpa is the legendary guide who helps them attempt to tackle the world's highest mountain.
To his Richland family, he is simply Dad.
Ang Dorjee -- a mountaineering guide who takes climbers from across the world up Mount Everest -- climbed the 29,035-foot mountain last month for the 17th time.
Tuesday, his two kids jumped into his arms at the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco as a small group of family and friends welcomed the 44-year-old home after more than two months away.
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The welcome home has become routine for Ang Dorjee, who has worked for Adventure Consultants since he first summited the mountain in 1992. The New Zealand-based company employs guides who help experienced climbers summit the mountain.
Though the trip home has become somewhat customary now, Ang Dorjee hinted at never losing respect for the mountain that steals numerous lives each year.
"Climbing the mountain is gambling," he said as his 9-year-old son Ang Tashi swung from his arms. "Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose."
A total of nine people, including four Sherpas, died on Everest this year, according to news reports. Sherpas are an ethnic group known for climbing in Nepal and they help guide climbers up the mountain.
Ang Dorjee helped 12 climbers summit the mountain May 21 around 6:20 a.m. after a month and a half.
The group hung out at the summit for about 45 minutes and snapped photos with each other.
This year the weather for climbing was exceptionally better than last, where falling rocks made climbing difficult, Ang Dorjee said. Lots of snow made this year's climb smoother.
The group did encounter some harsh weather at the third stage of the climb. Rain made it difficult, but once climbers got past the wet weather, the rest of the summit went as planned.
"(The climb) was pretty much routine," Ang Dorjee said.
Michelle Gregory -- who has been married to Ang Dorjee for 10 years after the two met in 2002 at Everest base camp while she was there doing research -- doesn't get too nervous about her husband climbing anymore. She's a research scientist at Richland's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
"We are used to it," she said, turning to Ang Dorjee's nephew Ang Tashi Namgyel Sherpa to ask: "Do you get nervous anymore?"
The teen doesn't even think before responding: "No."
Even though Ang Dorjee is a world-renowned guide featured in Jon Krakauer's best-selling novel Into Thin Air, about a deadly 1996 expedition up Everest, he continues to stay humble about his accomplishments.
"This is just what I do," he said. "Not being with (family) is hard."
Ang Dorjee will try to relax with his kids before returning to work for H & N Electric Motors in Pasco, where he works as a wind turbine mechanic.
He expects to continue to summit the mountain for the next three to four years.
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; email@example.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson