Monday, May 14, 2007

The Big Push ...

The SuperSherpas Expedition's "big push" for the summit of Mount Everest was supposed to have begun on May 13. However, we're still awaiting word on where the 8-person Sherpa summit team is at on the climb. We will publish new information and photos to this site as they become available.

In the meantime, Katie Eldridge, the media contact in Utah for the group, was able to forward a few comments from Utahns Apa Sherpa and Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa, who between them have 28 summits of the world's tallest mountain. A documentary is being made of the team's dangerous climb. On everyone's mind is how on April 26, Dawa Sherpa, a porter with a different team, died while working on the mountain.

Apa -- "This expedition is very important to the Nepali and Sherpa people because no one knows about us and what we do. This documentary is going to be good for our people -- it will help with health and education of our children.

"The Sherpa who died on the mountain (sic) this is a very big mountain and it can happen to anyone. But what I am thinking is how can we help the family. There needs to be an insurance fund for the families, like in America if they die on the job, then their family is taken care of. This is a job just like any other, but with a higher risk."

Lhakpa -- "I am hoping this expedition will be a success and may provide for the health and education of the next generation -- that they will have a choice and that people will realize we need to be responsible if someone dies (sic) and insurance would help these families whose fathers have passed away working on the mountain. It is very sad to lose friends."

Here are a few more quotes from Sherpas in the group:

Arita Sherpa (Apa's brother) -- "My brother and Lhakpa are doing this with way high causes (sic) for our country and our community. I am so very proud to be on this team."

Pemba Ringee (Lhakpa's cousin) -- "Apa and Lhakpa's success will help our country. That's whay I am climbing -- and I have lots of hope."

Dawa Sherpa (same name as the Sherpa who perished April 26) -- "This SuperSherpa team is with lots of promise to our country and people. Indeed, it feels great when you are working with the people who have success larger than life."

The all-Sherpa team is being led by Apa Sherpa, who holds the record (16) for the most summits of Everest. Dr. Scott McIntosh is also making the summit climb while collecting data on why porters and climbers from the Sherpa community in Nepal are so much more adept at tackling high-altitude climbing than people from elsewhere in the world.

This year it's estimated there are 800 people trying to summit Everest, which along with quickly changing weather patterns could push back the SuperSherpas' estimated summit date of between May 14 and May 17. Again, we will update this site with new information about the climb as it becomes available.


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