The Spirit of Everest: A Look into Dorje Morup’s Climb

Dorje Morup was an Indian mountaineer who attempted the Everest summit in 1996 and became one of eight climbers to lose their life on Everest in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. He was one of three members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Expedition team to assault a summit via the North Col.

Dorje Morup was born on 1st October 1948 in India and was serving as a Lance naik.

There is a huge dispute about who is the Green Boot on Everest. Is it Dorje Morup or fellow Indian climber Tsewang Paljor? The conflict continues…

1996 Indo-Tibetan Border Police Everest Expedition

The Spirit of Everest: A Look into Dorje Morup's Climb

This expedition was the first Indian ascent of Everest from the east side led by Commandant Mohinder Singh. It was a six-man team including Jodh Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Dorje Morp, Subedar Tsewang Samanla, and Head Constable Tsewang Paljor.

However, the team lacked the Sherpa guide, so it was all upon them, from fixing rope to breaking the trail to the top.

On 10th May, following the wildest storm above Camp IV, three of the six members descended for safety. Meanwhile, Samanla, Morup, and Paljor decided to ascend to the summit. Around 3:45 pm (Nepali Time), the trio told Mohinder Singh via radio they had reached the summit.

As a religious victory ceremony, the three climbers: Samanla, Morup, and Paljor, offer prayer flags, katas, and pitons at the summit point. Lured by the extravagant view from the top, Samanla decided to spend extra time on the summit. Thus, he guided Morup and Paljor to descend without him. After that, there was no radio contact and none of the three could ever make it to the high camp at 8,320 m.

Nevertheless, there is a dispute about whether the three have reached the summit or not. Jon Krakauer’s book, “Into Thin Air,” claims the climber was 150m short of the topmost point, 8848m.

Further, a Japanese team states the climbers thought they had reached the summit due to poor visibility. The claim assists in why the three climbers never came across the groups that summited from the South Side on 10th May.


There is speculation the Fukuoka expedition from Japan possibly encountered two climbers coming down a fixed rope. However, identification was impossible with the climbers wearing goggles and oxygen masks under hoods. The Fukuoka party, unaware of the missing Indians, and thought they were a Taiwanese expedition team.

In Krakauer’s book, “Into Thin Air,” the Japanese climber ascended to the summit without aiding the Indian climber, Morup or Paljor who was still alive, but in brutal condition with frostbite hands. Further, the Japanese climber again encountered other two Indian climbers after ascending the second step. Again without any aid, the Japanese moved forward.

On the contrary, the Japanese team defended Krakauer’s allegation, claiming they never came across the dying climbers on summit ascent.

Who Is Green Boots?

Initially, it was believed Green Boots on Everest was Indian climber Tsewang Paljor. Paljor wore green Koflach boots in his attempt to summit Everest alongside his two climber friends in 1996.

Later, the 1997 article “The Indian Ascent of Qomolungma by the North Ridge” changed the whole scenario. The article was published by P. M. Das the deputy leader of the expedition in the Himalayan Journal, writing Green Boots on Everest could possibly be Lance Naik, Dorje Morup.

In the article, on 10th May 1996 at 19;30, two climbers were encountered descending with their headlight gear on; however, they would shortly disappear from sight due to poor visibility.

On 11th May, the leader of the other summit group radioed base camp saying they encountered Morup, who refused to wear gloves and ascended slowly between the First and Second Steps. Further, it states, the Japanese team helped Morup transition to the next stretch of the rope who was in devastating condition.

After some time, the Japanese team found Tsewang Smanla dead above the Second Step. While descending, the Japanese team again met Morup who was still ascending slowly. It is believed, Morup died in the late afternoon on 11 May.

P.M. Das states Tsewang Paljor’s body is all lost high in the mountain. It is the frozen body of Dorje Morup, which became one of the popular dead bodies on Everest, Green Boots.

The debate on dead bodies continues..

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How Many Climbers Died In the 1996 Everest Disaster?

1996 Everest Disaster is one of the black days in mountaineering history. It took the life of many of eight climbers, including Dorje Morup, Tsewang Samanla, Tsewang Paljor, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Doug Hansen, Andy Harris, and Yasuko Namba.


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