Pasang Dawa Sherpa “LEGEND”- 27 times Everest Summiter

Pasang Dawa Sherpa (Padawa) – The hidden gem of the Himalayas   

 “Legends live to show us some of the greatest accomplishments and achievements in human history. We can only dream to achieve and witness such spectacles and wonders. The least we can do is to make them comprehend that their efforts are celebrated and appreciated while they are with us, not after they are mourned. A dime alive in earth makes more sense than mountain of gold in the heaven.”

Pasang Dawa Sherpa, famously known as “Padawa” at the age of 46 years is one of the only two human in the planet to have climbed the Everest Summit 26 times. He has climbed Mt. Lhotse once, Mt. Cho
Oyu seven times and Mt. Manaslu once. That is 35 times on top of 8000 meter mountains. He may have climbed more but does not remember or have it recorded in the official data book.

Pawada is a native of Pangboche village, a village known for many legendary mountaineers and heroes of Everest. This true son of the Himalayas was born on August 26, 1976 in a small shed in the yak
pastures above Chhukung. His mother gave birth to him in sheer hardship with her husband and contingents of yaks at an altitude above 4800 meters. Not very many are born at the altitude that boasts
the summit of the highest mountain in the European Alps.

Padawa loitered and wandered herding yaks in the pastures and family fields in Khumbu from a very early age. For him, life evolved around his hard working parents. Village and nomad lifestyle was his fulltime chores growing up. By the time he reached teenage age, he was being nurtured by his parents, pastures, fields and Buddhist culture of one of the oldest Monastery in Khumbu valley not too far from the Highest Mountain on earth.

Padawa started carrying loads of western Climbers in trekking and expeditions to Everest Base Camp. He was also shaping and molding his thoughts to reach higher reaches of the mountains in his Backyard. For 9 years, Padawa salivated the scenes of Expeditions that limited him to the base camps of some of the tallest mountains in his own backyard including Everest.

In 1998, he had his first chance to take his steps higher from the base camp and all the way to the top of Mt. Everest taking one of the most recognized faces in TV, a Celebrity Adventurer in Existence Edward “Bear Grylls” (UK) and fellow climbers Neil Laughton (UK) and Jeff Rhoades (United States). This milestone continued and by 2019, Padawa made it to the top of Everest 23 times. By this time, he had bagged the summits of 8000 meter mountains 32 times. Among notable feats, Padawa has climbed Everest twice in a week.

Padawa has also attempted Sishapangma in Tibet and K2 in Pakistan but returned back to the lower ground because of bad weather. At the age of 21, Padawa was the youngest Nepali Sherpa to summit Everest taking the youngest British Climber Bear Grylls, 23 to the top. He has also rescued a Bulgarian climber attempting without oxygen from area above Camp IV in Everest. He was facing immiment death because of exhaustion and lack of Oxygen. His hardship filled upbringing complimented him as a ferocious climber and legend in making.

Padawa is the King of Mt. Amadablam and ruled its ascents with valor. He does not remember actual numbers but claims to have summited the mountain more than 50 times. According to his close friends Danuru Sherpa and Phanden Sherpa, who are multiple times Mt. Everest summiteers, Padawa woke up at his home in Pangboche, caught up with his climbing members at camp III, summited Amadablam, descended down to the base camp and returned back to his house in Pangboche to sleep in the comfort of his bed. Crazy enough for such an enormous feat in the mountains, Padawa earned the nicknamed as 2nd Sundare Sherpa of Pangboche, the most decorated Sherpa of his time. Even for the strongest, it can take 5-7 days to accomplish the same feat.

Sungdare Sherpa – In his hey days in 1980s, Sundare Sherpa enjoyed his drinks, danced all night with his friends in Gorakshep hotel and climbed one of the most challenging mountains Mt. Pumori taking his climbing member to the top and returned back to find the friends who were dancing hours earlier with him in their sleeps. Late Sundare Sherpa was the first Sherpa to summit Everest without Oxygen. He was recipient of “Nepal’s highest official award Gorkha Dakhsin Bahu”. Padawa was related to Sungdare Sherpa and pays homage to his efforts. Humble Padawa credits his maternal uncle Kami Nuru Sherpa of Pangboche for revealing him into the world of trekking and mountaineering.  He received all his training and knowhow of climbing the Himalayas from his uncle. Without his support, all his achievements would not be possible.

Padawa lives with his wife Pasang Jangmu in Dingboche and Pangboche. While Padawa ploughs fields in Pangboche with his hand held tractor, his wife runs a small Equipment store and Snooker house in Dingboche. Their only son Tshewang Rinje Sherpa serves in the British Gurkha Regiment in UK. Padawa is also an important member of Pangboche Monastery and holds a title of “Chhotumba”, one of the revered guardians. He oversees major rituals and the young monks. When he is not in the mountains, he loves mowing lawns and works in constructions besides ploughing the fields with his tractor. He is also a Handyman.

A tale to tellSpring of 2021, missed milestone and tragic turn of event: 2021 has been a turbulent year for Padawa. Just few weeks before the start of his Everest Expedition, his only son, selected to serve in British Gurkha, left Nepal at 2:00 am for UK on Feb 28 2021. An hour after his only and young son’s flight took off, his mother passed way. Padawa faced the biggest emotional roller coaster of his life that took the turn into an unknown abyss. Padawa consumed alchohol every day for 18 days and lay in bed depressed. The tragic turn of event almost took his life instead of being in history books by being on top of Everest for 24 times equaling the record with another legend Kami Rita Sherpa, who made it to the top while fixing the route with his team.

Padawa, aided by relatives from Dingboche and the person he was supposed to partner up with in Everest, Jon Gupta, was put in a helicopter and airlifted to Kathmandu to a Rehab center where he spent 2 harsh months. The rescue evacuation took place with strong resistance from Padawa who vowed to stop consuming alcohol and remain in Dingboche. In the end, the outcome of his stay at the rehab was fruitful. Padawa has come out of the Rehab and joined his wife at their rental flat in Kathmandu.

The place of legendary mountaineers in the like of Padawa is on the mountains and history books, not it rehab. Padawa should be giving lectures and signing autographs to the kids in schools, not getting cornered in clumsy and confined spaces of rehabs. Padawa has done his job and that too without expecting any returns from the society and nation. We need to do ours and that is to honor him and his achievements. Invite him on social events and felicitate, keep him socially engaged.  This true legend did everything in the mountain and made history. Our society, mountaineering community, Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Nepal National Mountain Guide Association (NNMGA) and the Nation owes him. He has held the head of Nation high and the time to return the favors is ours. Can we? So that this precious gem and one of the greatest legend of Himalaya remains in the sanctuaries of mountains and not in the rehabs of Kathmandu. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *