Frontline World

NEPAL, Dreams of Chomolongma, May 2003


Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "Dreams of Chomolongma"

WHERE ARE THEY NOW
Update on the Women Climbers

INTERVIEW WITH SAPANA SAKYA
The Long Climb Up

THE LEGACY OF SHERPA WOMEN MOUNTAINEERS
A Nepali Heroine: Pasang Lhamu

FACTS & STATS
Nepal Country Profile

LINKS & RESOURCES
The Mount Everest Region, Sherpa Life, Nepali Women

MAP

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Where Are They Now? ON THE TRAIL OF THE INTREPID CLIMBERS
Lhakpa Sherpa, Dawa Yangzi, and Mingma Yangzi

Lhakpa Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa and Mingma Sherpa on an icefall ladder.

Ramyata LimbuIn May 2003, FRONTLINE/World co-producer Ramyata Limbu braved stormy weather in a return to the Everest area, hiking through mountain villages to track down the Sherpa women she had followed for "Dreams of Chomolongma" three years earlier. Limbu and her co-producer, Sapana Sakya, both Nepali natives, had grown close to these women during the months of filming. Limbu returned to the Everest area to find out what happened to Mingma Sherpa and Dawa Sherpa once they came down from the mountain. She also kept close to news of Lhakpa Sherpa, who at the time was making her third summit bid from the Tibet side of the mountain.
Dawa Sherpa Dawa Sherpa
10 May, Khumjung

I found Dawa Sherpa in Khumjung at 6:30 in the evening. Dawa is 25 now. She was returning from her family's potato field, about an hour's walk away from her village, with her 22-month-old son, Phurba Namgyal. Also with her were her 13-year-old sister, Pemba Jangbu, and 16-year-old brother, Shera Gyalzen. Both of the kids go to Khumjung School, the first school built by Sir Edmund Hillary. But it was a Saturday, so they had spent the day weeding the family's potato field and collecting firewood. All of them looked a bit grimy from a day in the field. Their parents were away at Pumori Base Camp, working to transport expedition gear with five of the family's six zopkio (yaks). Here is what Dawa had to say. go
Mingma Sherpa Mingma Sherpa
11 May, Tengboche

I caught up with Mingma Sherpa at the lodge she runs, Himalayan View Lodge in Tengboche. Dressed in a traditional bakhu, the long garment that women of the region wear, Mingma was her usual efficient self, commandeering the cramped kitchen, overseeing the little shop within the lodge and chatting with tourists. Mingma's 17-year-old daughter, Samden Sherpa, was helping out. She has just completed the high school board exams and is spending the spring tourist season with her mother up in Tengboche while awaiting results. Samden's 19-year-old brother, Sonam, is in Kathmandu attending college. This is Mingma's story. go
Lhakpa Sherpa Lhakpa Sherpa
20 May, 2003

Kathmandu
I haven't been able to speak directly with Lhakpa Sherpa, who's currently making her third attempt to scale Everest. If she succeeds in reaching the summit, she will set a world record: the only woman to have summitted Everest three times. But tracking the team is complicated: SARS has meant border closings on the Tibet side of Everest, and Lhapka's team has been plagued by communications problems. Even reaching camps close to the climb has been rough; the Maoists destroyed the telecommunication tower in the area about a year ago, debilitating stationary telephones. I was able to find some of Lhapka's family and friends, and hear the latest about her current progress and her life since the climb. Lhapka's elder sister Kidiki Sherpa, who lives in the remote village of Balakharla, had come to Kathmandu to look after Lhapka's lodgings, and I spoke with her there. Here is what I heard go

*Update: On May 22, 2003, the day of FRONTLINE/World's broadcast of the "Dreams of Chomolongma" story, Lhakpa Sherpa summitted Everest for the third time, setting a world record for women.

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