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Pasang Lhamu Sherpa is the first-ever woman to reach the highest peak of the world, Mt. Everest. Her courageous act of climbing Mount Everest is always respected in history. She never gave up on her dream of climbing the highest peak and her continuous efforts lead her to her success story.
After the first conquest of Mount Everest by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, the mountain was still untouched by any Nepali women. By 1993, only 16 women from different countries climbed the highest peak in the world.
Despite the number of people climbing mt. Everest, no Nepali women had ever placed their foot on the mountain. This was because of the male dominant society that the people of Nepal lived in. Only men were allowed to climb the highest peak until a 31-year-old Pasang Lhamu Sherpa broke all stereotypes and accomplished what no other Nepali women ever could.
Inspiring hundreds and thousands of women, the biography of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa is quite interesting.
Early life and childhood
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was born on December 10, 1961, in the mountainous region of Nepal. She was raised in a mountaineering family. The society was male-dominant where men were given more priority than women. However, Pasang was against this domination since childhood and always wanted to prove that women are no less than men.
Pasang was always fascinated by climbing mountains. With an equality mindset and a supportive family, she also started to climb mountains in her teenage years.
Growing up, Pasang successfully climbed several mountains. In 1989, Pasang successfully made her first climb at Mount Pisang (6091m). After that, she climbed the famous Mt. Blank(4848m) which made her the first woman mountaineer to climb it. In the same year, she set off to climb Mt. Everest(8848m) but she could only reach 8000m. In 1991, she successfully climbed the Yala Peak(5800m). In the same year, she again attempted climbing Mt. Everest twice but could only reach 8750m and 8500m respectively.
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa did not succeed until her final attempt on April 22, 1993, where she successfully reached the top of 8848m mountain that made her renowned throughout the globe.
Pasang Lhamu sherpa climbing Mount Everest
On a bright and clear day on April 22, 1993, Pasang Lhamu sherpa set off to climb Mount Everest along with the other five sherpa mountaineers, Sonam Tshering Sherpa, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa, and Dawa Tashi Sherpa. The team successfully reached the peak of the mountain 8848m high.
Unfortunately while returning back home, the five-time Everest summiteer Sonam Tshering Sherpa got critically ill and did not survive the climb. While the remaining team was descending down the mountain, the weather suddenly changed and turned worse. Bad weather and sudden change in weather are common in a mountain area but this causes difficulty for mountaineers.
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa death
Due to bad weather conditions during descending, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa lost her life on the south summit. A fellow mountaineer named Vladas Vitkauskas helped to bring her body to the bottom of the mountain.
Although she lost her life in the process, she remains one of the courageous and inspirational ladies of Nepal. She is a perfect example of a strong and determined woman.
Honors and recognitions
After the climb, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was widely recognized by Nepal as the woman who achieved what no other woman could. She was honored by her country and other mountaineers
All over the world. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa became the first woman to be decorated as the Nepal star also called “Rashtriya Bibhuti” by the late King of Nepal, King Birendra.
She was also awarded the 1993-94 Youth Excellence Award by the National Youth Foundation. In her remembrance, the government of Nepal changed the name of Jasamba Himal of Mahalangur Range as PasangLhamu Peak. the government also renamed Trisuli Dunche road as Pasang Lhamu Highway.
In her honor, postage stamps carried her photograph. People also built a Pasang Lhamu Memorial Hall in the Jhapa district. To celebrate her, there is a life-size statue of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa located in Boudha, Kathmandu.
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Family
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was married to Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa. The couple has two lovely daughters and a son, Davia-phuti, dikki, and Namgyal Sherpa respectively.
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa became the hero in her own rights. She was a fighter and a true believer in women’s strength. Her actions do not just reflect her life but they helped society to eliminate gender-based discrimination and promote women’s empowerment.
Like Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, there are many women heroes in Nepal who have helped and inspired hundreds and thousands of people. For more Nepali heroes, visit here.