Mount Everest is fascinating, for many – like the more than 300 foreign mountaineers who will attempt to climb it this spring from Nepal alone – even a life’s dream. In the end, however, it remains only a mountain. And there are more important things in life. Also for Lhakpa Sherpa. The 45-year-old native of Nepal actually wanted to travel to Tibet again these days in order to reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters for the tenth time and thus improve her record: Lhakpa is the woman with the most Everest ascents in the world.
But she abandoned her plan and stayed at home in West Hartford, Connecticut. The reason is the recent death of her father, the Sherpani writes to me: “We were very close and he was my hero.” She first has to deal with the loss of her beloved father. “His death has affected my mental fortitude and I must regain my balance.”
For twelve years Lhakpa was married to George Dijmarescu, a nine-time Everest climber born in Romania. The marriage ended in a “War of the Roses”. A US court finally granded her custody of their children after the divorce. Lhakpa’s son is now of age, and the two daughters, twelve and 17 years old, still live with her. To earn a living, she works 40 hours a week in a supermarket. But that could soon be a thing of the past. Last year Lhakpa Sherpa founded her own expedition and trekking agency “Cloudscape Climbing”, that offers, inter alia, expeditions to the eight-thousanders Everest, Makalu and Manaslu.
Tenth ascent in 2020?
In 2000, Lhakpa stood on the summit of Mount Everest for the first time. Since then she has always been successful when she traveled to Nepal or Tibet to scale the highest mountain on earth – most recently a year ago, for the ninth time already. “I am definitely going back in 2020,” the Sherpani writes to me. “Right now I just need to recover.” Only after having gone through her personal valley caused by her father’s death Lhakpa Sherpa will be able to focus on the mountains again. Even the highest.