KATHMANDU: Yangdi Sherpa has been working as a trekking guide since 2012. She has reached in the lap of Mt Everest in and around basecamp more than five times during the professional career and scaled the mountain to reach its summit only once on May 16, 2018.
It is not that easy for a Nepalese woman to work as a trekking guide as many people speak many things when a female trekking guide accompanies the tourists from different countries and stay with them for several days in a stretch away from one’s own house and a family or native place.
Yangdi has faced all; she knows what is called gender discrimination. It is not for her but also for porters – female porters who work for tourists. Even in our own country and community, women like me remain the targets of attack from our own people. They view us with skeptical eyes as if we are doing something wrong or stealing the property of someone.
Yangdi questions, “We are doing work and earning rightfully. Why should it be viewed in a bad light?” She continues to share, “Women and men both attack working ladies like me who remain outside for weeks in a stretch due to nature of work. They have fixed eyes to judge us.”
She goes on to complain, “Of course, such people never give employment and if we are employed earning by doing hard work, they begin to judge us. Like me, there are many Nepalese women who have undergone the same fait accompli.”
Despite facing humiliation and harassment from her own people, Yangdi has learned the lessons by looking at the Himalayan mountains particularly Mt Everest to stand tall unwavering without fluctuations in the face of storms, rains, and quake.
She too is committed to her work and to remain unfazed like Mt Everest without being bogged down by criticism and any other negative remarks hurled against her. Yangdi has the full support of her family therefore, she does not bother much what others say about her and focuses on her profession as a trekking guide.
Moreover, she has now become a summiteer too by scaling the Mt Everest all due to her own profession. Yangdi Sherpa receives a lot of appreciation and respect from tourists for whom she works. They hardly bother whether I am male or female; they have high respect for jobs, she says.
As a trekking guide, Yangdi gets several opportunities to scale mountain peaks. During the course of her professional life, she has already climbed the Mera Peak (6,476 m), Island Peak (6,189 m), Ramdung Peak (5,925 m). She climbs to these peaks mentally prepared her to scale Mt Everest on May 16, 2018, when she stood at the top of the world.
It was a great feeling, she recounts, “When I reached the summit of Mt Everest I felt as if I am in heaven. There was no limit to my happiness as I always wanted to happen to my life. It was a dream come true.” She said she could touch the cloud and stretch her hands up to touch the haven.
She further narrates to Khabarhub, “I would not have been alive to share my story with you if one of my fellow climbers had not held me up tightly after my leg slipped at the summit of the Mt Everest.” She was in jubilation celebrating the moments at the top of the summit. Just then her leg slipped and she was about to fall in endless depth before one of the fellow climbers caught her to prevent the fall.
It shows how dangerous is the profession for such guides and porters. Being a woman all the burning issues of gender rights and gender equality are so close to her. She has dedicated her climb on the Mt Everest to all the confident women who fight out their battle in a society to live their lives amid all kinds of bias and prejudice.
Yangdi climbed the Mt Everest along with two others from Solukhumbu district. She is also the first women to climb Mt Everest from her own village. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa from Khumbi Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality-1, Lyakpa Yangi Sherpa from Khumbi Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality-3 and Yangdi Sherpa from Tamakoshi from Solududhkunda Municipality-3 constitute the team members of Women Everest Expedition 2018 follows the profession of Trekking Guide.
Yangdi says climbing the Mt Everest is easier as the government has fixed the rope for all the climbers. However, climbers themselves need to exert physically undergoing personal struggle in order to climb the Everest, she continues, “I never felt I would be able to climb the Mt Everest. I gained my confidence only when I reached an altitude of 7,000m that too without using oxygen.”
“Till now, I am feeling confident. It continues to motivate me if a woman dares to do something that men always boasts about as their own domain, she will definitely make it,” she adds. Yangdi says she cannot live without the Himalayas and Mt Everest because she survives on it. She is planning to climb more peaks of Himalayas in days to come. Khabarhub wishes her all the luck and more success in her life.