Nepal: A Sherpa’s Story


Nepal’s mountaineering industry suffered one of its most tragic years in 2014 and 2015. On 18th April 2014, sixteen expedition workers were killed in an avalanche that swept through the Khumbu Icefall on Mount Qomolangma or Everest. The following year, the 25th April 2015 earthquake claimed 22 lives at the Mount Everest base camp. As expedition workers try to move on from tragedy, they are also hoping for greater support from their government. Pearly Jacob spoke with Sherpa expedition workers and 2014 avalanche survivor Dawa Tashi Sherpa and their families about their hopes and fears.

Dawa Tashi was the only survivor pulled out of the crevasse in which 13 sherpas who were clipped into the same line were swept into by the avalanche on 18th April, 2014.

This was a special feature for “Assignment Asia”, a current affairs program aired on  CCTV News (now CGTN) with expedition footage licensed from Elia Saikaly.

This report offers an insight into the lives and stories of expedition workers and their families, many of whom have had to face the loss of their loved ones in an inherently risky industry that has also lifted many Sherpa families out of poverty. Many expedition workers who’ve died on Mount Everest and surrounding peaks were also accomplished mountaineers who are as driven by their passion for climbing as for the promise of a better life it offered their families. The hope for many is that safety measure are improved and sherpas and their families are offered the help and support they need when things go wrong.

(Some still images from the story.)