Mount Everest took their husbands. And the fathers of their children. Nevertheless, Nima Doma Sherpa and Furdiki Sherpa want to climb the highest mountain on earth this spring. “We are doing our expedition for the respect of our late husbands because they were mountaineers too,” Nima Doma replies to my question about the purpose of their project. “And we want to motivate all the widows.” Everest has left a lot of single mothers behind. According to the mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, 37 Sherpas have died there in the past 20 years alone. Furdiki’s husband, Mingma Sherpa, belonged to the so-called “Icefall Doctors” who set up and secure the route through the Khumbu Icefall every year. The 44-year-old died in a fall into a crevasse on 7 April 2013. One year later, on 18 April 2014, Nima Doma Sherpa’s husband, Tshering Wangchu Sherpa, was one of the 16 Nepalese victims of the major avalanche accident in the Icefall.
Move to Kathmandu
When Everest’s fate struck, the two Sherpanis each worked in the small tea houses of their families: Furdiki in Dingboche, a small village in the Everest region at 4,340 meters, Nima Doma in Khumjung, further down the valley at 3,780 meters. Their income was too low to make ends meet for their children in the long run. Both moved to Kathmandu and started working as porters and later guides of trekking groups. Furdiki wanted to give her children greater opportunities for the future than she could finance herself. The 42-year-old found adoptive parents in the USA for her three daughters, who are now 14, 17 and 20 years old. Nima Doma has a ten-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter. When the 34-year-old is on the road as a trekking guide, her mother looks after the children in Kathmandu.
On top of two six-thousanders
In order to prepare for their “Two Widow Expedition”, Nima Doma and Furdiki attended several climbing courses of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). Last November they scaled the 6,584-meter-high Chulu East in the Annapurna region and the 6,189-meter-high Island Peak in the Everest region, two popular trekking peaks. Is that enough experience for Everest? I asked the two Sherpani if they were not afraid that something might happen to them on the highest mountain on earth and that their children would then be orphans. “We are not afraid of the mountains because we believe we gain basic technic that is need in the mountains and well wishes from all the people who know us and our story,” replies Nima Doma Sherpa. “Every mother loves her children and so do we. But after the death of our husbands all the responsibility suddenly lay on our shoulders. We want to show our children that we can be independent. This will motivate them and make them proud.”
P.S. Nima Doma and Furdiki still need more money to finance their expedition. On 19 October, they will be hosting a fundraising dinner party in a hotel in Kathmandu. If you want to support the two Sherpani, you can also send them money online. Here is the link to their crowdfunding campaign.