Ang Dorje was born in 1970 in upper Pangboche, Nepal, near the Khumbu Valley as it passes down the slopes of Mount Everest. He grew up among Himalayan climbers; his father, Nima Tenzing Sherpa, was a climber with expeditions led by British mountaineer Chris Bonington in the 1970s and 1980s.
He followed his father in work with climbing expeditions beginning as a porter at the age of 12. "I always wanted to climb when I was little," Ang Dorje says. He attended private school in Nepal, with assistance from western clients impressed by his work ethic, as he continued his mountaineering work with several expeditions in the Everest area. His efforts were rewarded when in 1992 at the age of 22 he reached the summit of Mount Everest.
Ang Dorje has led many successful expeditions on Everest, frequently as climbing sirdar for Adventure Consultants, the guiding service founded by Rob Hall. During the disastrous 1996 expedition on Everest, he and Lhakpa Tshering Sherpa made a daring attempt to rescue Hall and others, in the deadly storm conditions that ultimately killed 8 climbers. They ascended 900 vertical meters to just below Everest's South Summit, only to be halted by impenetrable storm conditions just 100 meters from Hall. They waited 45 minutes before being forced back by the storm. Ang Dorje later commented on the incident saying, "It was very sad. Very difficult." The rescue efforts are recounted by Jon Krakauer in his account of the disaster, Into Thin Air.
In addition to his work as climbing sirdar on Everest, Ang Dorje has also worked as a mountain guide on Everest, as well as Aconcagua, Mount Rainier, Kilimanjaro,and Island Peak.
He first guided Bachendri Pal in 1980, when he climbed Mount Everest 2nd time.
As of 2017, Ang Dorje had reached the summit of Mount Everest 19 times since 1992 (in both spring and autumn, all via the South Col route), Cho Oyu seven times since 1995, and had also summited Broad Peak (1995), Gasherbrum II (1997) and Ama Dablam (in 1996, via the southwest ridge route)
After meeting American computational linguist Michelle Gregory at (south) Everest Base Camp, in 2002 he immigrated to the United States. The couple wed a year later; he now lives with his wife and two children in Richland, Washington. He returns to climb Everest each spring, in part to be able to visit family as he passes on the way to the mountain. He completed his 19th summit of Everest in 2017. When he is not leading clients in the Himalayas, Ang Dorje works as a wind turbine mechanic in the wind farms near his Washington home.
He spent a few years (1997 / 1998) climbing in Jotunheimen in Norway with amongst others his friend Morten Skjellen-larsen.2017 - 19th summit
2016 - 18th summit with Adventure Consultants
2013 - 17th summit