Home
   Today's News
   8000 Meters Facts
  
Banners Ads
   Bookstore
   Classified Ads
   Climb for Peace
  
Contact

   Downloads
  
Educational
  
Expeditions
  
Facts
  
Games
  
Gear
  
History
  
Interviews

   Mailing List
   Media

   Medical
  
News (current)
   News Archives
   Sat Phones
   Search
   Seven Summits
   Snowboard
   Speakers
   Students
   Readers Guide
   Risks

   Trip Reports
   Visitor Agreement

   Volunteer/help

 

    
  

 

  




  Mt. Everest 2006: TRUE STORIES ABOUT MOUNTAINEERING, MOUNTAINS AND THE PEOPLE WHO CLIMB


True Stories from a Sherpa - Part II

 

PART II: TRUE STORIES FROM A SHERPA

 

As I thought about my life and what I wanted it to be, I decided that climbing would become my job.  I was going to serve those who hired me and paid for my service.  In serving, I would not offer advice.  I would keep quiet and do what I was asked to do.  This servitude defined my personality and similarly, the personalities of other sherpas.  The difficulties multiplied with the variety of nationalities who hired me.  My English suffered from few conversations with others; my interaction and exchange of ideas with foreigners lessened.  I came to rely on the lead sherpa or sirdar which created an even wider gap between me and those I served.  There was a great sense of isolation.

 

About the time my daughter was born, I became interested in art and painting.  My uncle was a skilled painter who sold his art during the trekking season.  He lent me brushes and paints which I tried out on paper, canvas and other surfaces.  My paintings were simple, but people seemed to like my work and returned to buy new offerings.  Painting opened up a new window for me.  It relaxed me after the rigors of strenuous climbing.  It also allowed me to see the unique qualities of my surroundings - the amazing mountains, Thame Monastery, the flora and fauna of our area, yaks grazing nearby, the children playing atop the hills where the elusive Yeti is rumored to live. (Even though I have never seen the Yeti, I believe the village legends about it and place it atop the hills in my paintings! )  Zoologists sometimes arrive looking for evidence of the Yeti or to photograph the snow leopard.  The leopard is as clever as the Yeti!  Both are camera-shy!  I have been privileged to see a few leopards in my time, but they are just another beautiful creature trying to survive and should be left alone.  I was sad to see one at the Bronx Zoo - caged in, its fur all dirty.  I hope its captivity provides an educational tool that helps the world understand its rare beauty and behavior.  It is a high price to pay for such learning.

 

While painting is my passion, I also am skilled at carpentry and tailoring.  Perhaps, one day when I’m too old to climb, my painting will provide money for my family, but for now, mountaineering is my livlihood.  I want to take good care of my children. They are in school, but it isn’t a very good school. If I could afford it, they would go to school in Kathmandu, but that is too expensive for now.  I want more for them than I had.  I don’t want to see my children climbing for a living.  It is too dangerous, sometimes deadly as I know only too well.  Once on Mt. Manaslu while making a traverse with other sherpa climbers, I looked up and there she was - “the white death”.   “Avalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanche!”  screamed one of my cousins.  We were roped together and started to run for cover and for our lives.  Some ran faster than others although we were tied together.  I felt a pull on the rope and was knocked down.  Silence and darkness.  I was totally buried under the snow.  The avalanche roared over me pinning me down further until I was unable to move even a finger.  Motionless, as though  frozen, I lay there with the snow pressed against my chest and mouth struggling to get just a tiny breath.  Unconscious, feeling no pain, eerily relaxed and comfortable, I was jerked awake by my cousins tugging on the rope which still connected us. After frantically digging in the snow with their bare hands, one arm appeared followed by my face.  Racing against time they pulled me to my feet and slowly, I became aware of my surroundings.  The rope was my umbilical cord to life.  Had I not been roped to the others, I would be dead.

 

On another occasion the roles were reversed, and I was the rescuer rather than the victim.  On an expedition on Mt. Cho Oyu, despite repeated warnings of avalanches in the area, a member of the Japanese group ventured up to Camp Three.  It was there that the avalanche hit him.  The force was so violent that it carried him nearly  one kilometer all the way down to Camp Two.  We saw the avalanche hit him.  By some miracle one of his arms remained visible above the crushing debris of snow.  I got to him, started to dig him out and suddenly had a flashback to the horror of my own burial beneath the white shroud.  I saw myself in that coffin and did all I could to get him uncovered.  His mouth was open and full of densly compacted snow.  Raking furiously with my index fingers I looked into his open but unresponsive eyes. Once the snow was cleared from his mouth, he gasped a reflexive breath.  I checked his heart but felt only a very faint beating.  Once completely out of the crushing snow, he fortunately made a good recovery and eventually returned to his family - a survivor, not a statistic.

 

I have known far too many “statistics” - friends and colleagues who have not returned safely from their climbs.  While it is true that the sherpa have the most summits of Mt. Everest of any nationality, it is regrettably true that we also lead in fatalities.  From my experiences as one involved in avalanches as a buried climber and one rescuing another climber, I know that I have been extremely lucky.  I also feel blessed.  I never climb without performing the Puja ceremony.  I was a monk.  I know the scriptures. Because of this, I am often asked to perform the Puja for others.  This year I will do the Puja for my team and me while we are at Advanced Base Camp.  Most climbers will attend the ceremony whether or not they are Buddhists.  It is a way to show respect for our Gods.  Known as Chomolungma in Tibet or Sagarmatha in Nepal, Mt. Everest stares down on prospective climbers with her threatening countenance.  Most climbers are happy to pay respect to her Gods!  We need all the help we can get!

 

And so this is a glimpse into my life.  I hope you find it interesting.  There are others helping with this expedition - sherpa and non-sherpa and also, a very hard working Tibetan boy who smiles all the time!

 

Once I visited a school in South Windsor, Connecticut with my cousin Apa Sherpa.  The students asked wonderful and sometimes funny questions.  I enjoyed talking with them and also look forward to speaking with any of you who are interested.

 

Thank you for reading this little part of my life, True Stories of a Sherpa.  I also want to thank my friend, Betty Anne Cox, in Hartford, CT for editing this for me.

 

Regards,

 

Dawa NuruSherpa

Everest, Rongbuk Glacier, Tibet

 

Update: The expedition is over, too dangerous, too hard...

 

 

 

Part One is here

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.




 

 

Altitude pre-
  
acclimatization

   Ascenders

   Atlas snowshoes

   Black Diamond

   Botas

   Brunton

   Carabiners

   CaVa Climbing Shoes
   Clearance

   Clif Bar

   Cloudveil

   CMI

   Crampons

   Edelweiss ropes
  
Eureka Tents

   Featured

   FoxRiver

   Garmin

   Granite Gear

   Harnesses
   Headlamps
   Helmets

   HighGear
   Ice Axes

   Kavu Eyewear

   Katadyn

   Kelty

   Kong

   Lekisport

   Lowepro

   Motorola

   Mountain Hardwear

   Mountainsmith

   MSR

   Nalgene

   New England Ropes

   Nikwax

   Omega

   Patagonia

   Pelican

   Petzl

   PowerBar

   Princeton Tec

   Prescription Glacier

   Glasses

   Primus

   Rope Bags

   Seattle Sports

   Serius
  
Sleeping Bags

   Stubai

   Suunto

   Tents

   Thermarest

   Trango

   Tool Logic

   Trekking Poles
   Yaktrax
  
and more here

 



  



Send email to  • Copyright© 1998-2012  EverestNews.com
All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Visitor Agreement, Legal Notes: Read it