The Women’s 2017 Expedition to Kanchenjunga is such a meaningful endeavor for all of us at Musa Masala. It centers on two of our goals: the empowerment of women, especially in Nepal, and highlighting the frightening effects of climate change on the Himalayas. In addition, seeing these climbers, along with other Nepali athletes like Mira Rai, inspire a new generation of girls who can now visualize themselves in a way that was not possible before is heartwarming.
We are excited to support the women’s climb in any way we can. Thank you, Ang Diku, for writing another great post introducing to us to our newest heroes!
Mountaineering is an adventurous game. Three Nepali women have already carved their names into its history. They have created names for themselves separately, and now once again they will join together to climb the world’s third highest mountain, Kanchenjunga (8569m). They are calling their climb, “Three Women, Three on Top.” With their climb they will promote women’s climbing in Nepal and spread the message of climate change in the Himalayas.
The three women are, Maya Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita and Dawa Yangzum Sherpa.
In 2014 they became the first Nepali women’s team to summit K2, often called the world’s most dangerous mountain. Many climbers consider Kanchenjunga, their upcoming climb, an even more dangerous summit. Let’s learn a little about these incredible women.
Ms. Maya Sherpa is from Okhaldhunga. During her time as a national weightlifter, she reached the finals several times. She has been involved in expeditions to many of the world’s highest peaks. With three Mt Everest summits under her belt, she is the first Nepali woman to summit from both the south and north side. Maya is also the first Nepali woman to summit Cho Oyo, Baruntse, Pumori, Khan Tengri and Ama Dablam.
Ms. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita is from Lukla. She started climbing in 2003 then became the first female Nepalese mountaineering instructor in 2006. She has climbed Mt Everest, AMA Dablam, Nangal Gosum ll, Accancagua and other mountains in Europe and the US, where she guides climbs on Mt Rainier and other mountains. She is the winner of the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Award for 2016, in part for her work to help in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake. She recently received the Tenzing Norgay Award at The Explorers Club Dinner in New York City.
Ms. Dawa Yangzum Sherpa is from Dolakha. She started her career as a ultra marathon, high altitude runner. She completed the 350km Everest Sky Race, finishing second in the women’s competition in 2010. She also completed the 350km Annapurna Mandela Trail Race. She was the first runner up and winner of the 2011 and 2012 IFSC National Open Lead Climbing Competition. She is the first Nepali woman to complete the Climbing Rescue Ranger course at Mt Rainier. She has also completed the aspirant guide training at The Nepal National Mountain Guide Association.
These three women have come together to show that Nepali women are powerful, strong climbers and that there is no difference between men and women in the mountains. Climbing is not just a job for them but a passion they want to show women around the world and especially Nepal.
Twenty-three years ago Pasang Llamu Sherpa died while returning from the top of Mt Everest. She became a national hero. These women know the importance of getting down and how the descent is more difficult than the climb up.
These climbers have become an inspiration to many women, including me. I am a huge fan. If you would like to support their climb and the women of Nepal, and help raise awareness to the imminent danger of climate change to the glaciers of the Himalayas, please go to their Go Fund Me page at the following link and make a donation.
— Ang Diku Sherpa