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with Stefan Nestler

Dawa Steven Sherpa: Everest belongs to all of us

Dawa Steven Sherpa

Mount Sherpa. That would be a better suited name for the highest mountain of the world, which instead was named after Sir George Everest, a Surveyor-General of India in the 19th century. The history of Mount Everest is also a history of the Sherpas. The „eastern people” who had fled from Tibet to Nepal in earlier times were engaged for the early British expeditions in the 1920s. One of the two climbers who scaled Everest first in 1953 was a Sherpa: Tenzing Norgay. At the latest since commercial climbing was established on Everest sherpas have become indispensable. Without their support most of the clients wouldn’t have any chance to reach the summit. Due to this important role sherpas have an excellent reputation all over the world, many have achieved modest prosperity. Sherpas are also working as successful entrepreneurs, doctors or pilots. They know that these achievements are due to Everest. „As a Nepali, Mount Everest is my identity to the world. As a Sherpa, Mount Everest is the reason we have education, health care and prosperity”, Dawa Steven Sherpa wrote to me. „As a mountaineer, Mount Everest is the playground where I learned to explore myself, my limitations and my abilities as a person.” 

Twice on the summit of Everest 

Dawa Steven (r.) cleaning garbage on Everest

The 29-year-old Nepali belongs to a generation of Sherpas that has benefited from Everest from an early age. Together with this father Ang Tshering Sherpa Dawa Steven is managing „Asian Trekking“, a leading agency for expeditions and trekking in Nepal. His mother comes from Belgium, he studied in Edinburgh in Scotland. In 2006 Dawa Steven summited Cho Oyu, in 2007 for the first time Mount Everest. The following year the young Sherpa scaled Lhotse and five days later Everest again. For the last five years he has been leading „Eco Everest Expeditions“, which combine business and ecology: The clients are led to the summit on 8850 meters. In addition all members collect garbage from the slopes and bring it down to the valley. 

Basecamp bakery 

Dawa Steven is creative in raising money for ecology. In 2007 he founded the „world’s highest bakery” at 5350 meters in the basecamp on the Nepalese south side of Everest. Chocolate cake, apple pie, doughnuts and croissants went fast. The climbers were willing to pay higher prices because it was to a good cause. The money was used for projects to prepare local villages in Nepal for the effects of climate change. To raise awareness to the dangers of global warming Dawa Steven in 2012 walked together with Everest record climber Apa Sherpa on the „Great Himalaya Trail” 1555 km from the east to the west of Nepal. Later he was awarded with a first ever WWF award for outstanding achievements of people under the age of 30 for nature conservation around the world.   

Love for mountains and ecology 

On Island Peak (Ama Dablam r.)

On the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest Dawa Steven wishes a „next generation of adventurers, who will love the mountains and protect them from harm”. (You really should read his full statements on the two Everest-60-pinboards on the right side of the blog.) For Sherpas Dawa Steven hopes that the mountain will provide opportunities furthermore. „For the Nepali, I wish that Mount Everest will continue to make them proud to be a Nepali”, he writes. „For all the people in the world, I wish that Everest will continue to remind them that it is the highest mountain in the world.  Therefore, as citizens of this world Mount Everest belongs to all of us.”


27. March 2013 | 12:35