Dawa Sherpa with her son Phurba Namgyal in front of her house.
Home with the Baby
"I'm currently living with my parents in Khumjung, where I
help plant potatoes, buckwheat and with the household chores.
Since my son is quite young, I can't leave him and go far. I'll
stay at home for a couple of years till he's older.
"During the 2000 Everest expedition, I gained a lot of experience
about climbing. Before that, Everest expeditions just meant
the tons of sweets, chocolates, goodies that were taken up to
base camp. Later I realized that Everest meant fame, fortune
and opportunity. But I haven't been able to utilize my experience.
So my economic status is the same. Soon after I came back, I
got married and had a baby. I haven't been on a trek or expedition.
I've had a couple of opportunities. I was asked to go to Xishapangma,
but since I was pregnant, my mother didn't let me go. After
having the baby, I got a chance to go to Amadablam as Sherpa
support staff. But I couldn't leave the baby -- he was still
nursing. It would be hard to leave the baby, hard for me and
hard for the people at home who would have to take care of him.
So I'm basically helping out at home, doing what I've always
Life After Everest
"I have received a certain amount of fame. When I was heading
up toward Everest base camp in 2000, I came across a group of
locals who were talking about the women's expedition, including
about myself. I was right there. They didn't recognize me, but
they knew me by name. If I hadn't been on the 2000 Women's Everest
Expedition, who would know of me? Sometimes media people come
by seeking me out.
Dawa Sherpa with her son Phurba and
sister Pemba Jangbu in Khumjung.
"My parents and husband are pretty supportive about me wanting
to climb. They say I shouldn't miss a good opportunity if it
comes by, that I should climb when I'm still young and make
a name for myself if I can. But I've realized it's easy to do
what you want when you're single and free. But now that I'm
married, I need to think of the baby, my family, my husband,
consult with them.
"I know some young girls who would love to climb Everest given
the opportunity. Some have asked me to help them. But how can
I? Who would I approach? Since 2000, I've heard that Lhakpa
climbed Everest from Tibet and is trying again this year. Pemba
Doma Sherpa also made her second ascent of Everest from Nepal.
That's about it, I haven't heard of any other Nepali woman climbing.
"Before Everest, I used to work as a porter, a yak driver and
any odd job that I could get. But after Everest, one tends to
aim for bigger things. People know you, you not only make a
name for yourself but for your village; you win respect for
women as a whole. I didn't reach the top. So if I get a chance,
I want to get to the summit, go abroad, travel the world, make
good money. Climbing smaller peaks doesn't really count. I want
to climb Everest just once. Since having my son, I may have
lost a lot of weight and look thinner. That's probably because
he's still nursing. But I'm still strong.
Dawa Sherpa in Khumjung.
"When we were young, my friends and I were in awe of Pasang
Lhamu [the first Nepali woman to attempt Everest; she died on
the descent]. I remember talking about how it would be great
to get a chance to go to Everest. Some friends said women couldn't
do it. I insisted that women could. When the news of her death
came, we speculated on how she died, whether she was blown off
the mountain, had fallen into a crevasse, or died in an avalanche.
I wondered whether death was instantaneous or whether she had
survived on the Everest for a couple of days. But when I was
on the mountain, I felt no fear."
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