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with Stefan Nestler

With Sherpa women’s power to the top of Kangchenjunga

Maya Sherpa, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita (from l. to r.)

Maya Sherpa, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita (from l. to r.)

The trio wants the triple. After having climbed Mount Everest and K 2, Maya Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita and Dawa Yangzum Sherpa plan to scale next spring also the third-highest mountain in the world, the 8,586-meter-high Kangchenjunga in the east of Nepal. Via the normal route, with bottled oxygen. They climbed Everest still separately – Maya for the first time in 2006, Pasang Lhamu in 2007 and Dawa Yangzum in 2012 – but K 2 in Pakistan in 2014 for the first time together as a team. As early as in 2015 the trio wanted to climb Kangchenjunga. However, at that time the expedition did not come about for financial reasons. This time, too, there is still money left, Maya Sherpa, who is to lead the first Nepalese women’s expedition to Kangchenjunga, writes to me. The Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has announced to provide financial support as well as Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, managing director of the expedition operator Seven Summit Treks, says Maya Sherpa. The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has not yet decided whether it will also participate in the costs. In addition, the three Sherpani try to get a free permit for their expedition by the government.

Adventurer of the year 2016



It is sad to hear that these three mountaineers of Nepal have to scrape together the sponsorship money for their project so tediously. After all, the Sherpani trio has made a name for themselves not only in their home country but worldwide. For example, the readers of the renowned US magazine “National Geographic” voted Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita “Adventurer of the Year 2016”. The 32-year-old is currently guiding the members of a commercial expedition on Aconcagua, with an altitude of 6,972 meters the highest mountain in South America.

Working also as expedition manager

Maya Sherpa on Everest

Maya Sherpa on Everest

In spring 2016, Maya Sherpa – on an expedition operated by her husband Arnold Costerclimbed Mount Everest for the third time. Maya also leads expeditions herself. “There are no other Nepali women who do this kind of job,” writes the 38-year-old. Last fall, Maya led a five-member group to the summit of the seven-thousander Himlung Himal, “without my husband,” as she stresses. “I just like to work on the mountain.” Nepalese women, says Maya, can also work as Climbing Sherpas as Dawa Yangzum has proved during her Everest ascent in 2012, when the now 26-year-old carried the oxygen bottles of the expedition up the mountain.

Inspiration for other women in Nepal

With their new joint Kangchenjunga project, the three Sherpani want to encourage their country women. “It’s a good example for other Nepali ladies that if we try it together we can do everything,” says expedition leader Maya Sherpa. “If we climb alone, only a few people see us. But if we climb together many people are looking at us. And then maybe some other young women will show their interest to do something like us.”


6. January 2017 | 15:44