Pasang Dawa Sherpa challenges Kamirita for recognition
At 9:23 am on Tuesday, Kamirita Sherpa set a new record in climbing Mount Everest. The renowned climber successfully reached the summit for the 28th time. This is her second ascent this season. Previously, in 2019, she had set a record by climbing Everest twice in the same season.
Challenging this famous climber is another courageous mountaineer, Pasang Dawa Sherpa. On Monday, he made his 27th ascent of Everest, challenging Kamirita. He has also reached the summit twice in this season alone. Before this, he had climbed Everest for the 26th time on the 31st of Vaishak (mid-May).
According to Nimanuru Sherpa, the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Pasang Khumbu and Pasang Lhamu, located in Ward No. 4 of Pangboche in Solukhumbu district, are localities with personal expertise and skills in mountaineering. Nimanuru says, “Both climbers are skilled and experienced in mountaineering, but Pasang has gained more recognition due to her high-profile presence.” Therefore, she is also referred to as the “Hidden Gem.”
At the age of 47, Kamirita is younger than Pasang. That’s why the record competition between these climbers will continue for a few more years. According to Nimanuru, many climbers have completed 14-15 ascents, and for now, they are not close to breaking the records of Kamirita and Pasang. Previously, climbers like Appa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa, who have achieved 21-22 ascents of Everest, have retired from climbing.
Journey to the Himalayas, started by a trekking guide
Padawa had started his career in tourism and mountaineering as a guide. His first ascent to Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) was in 1998, at the age of 21, leading a team of two Sherpas and three foreign climbers. Since then, he has achieved numerous successful climbs beyond 8,000 meters in the Himalayas, although official records do not fully document his accomplishments.
Despite not being officially recognized, the tourism department and Nepal Mountaineering Association have not systematically organized and recorded such records, leaving these remarkable achievements in the shadows. Born in 1976, Padawa spent his childhood in a small village with his shepherd family.
Padawa’s identity as a renowned climber is not limited to being a guide but also an accomplished climber himself. He has successfully climbed Mt. Everest multiple times in various climbing seasons. Apart from his first ascent in 1998, he has climbed Everest twice in the seasons of 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2018, 2019, and 2022.
While many climbers find the challenging Himalayan peaks formidable, Padawa’s expertise and experience have made him familiar and comfortable with these treacherous mountains. Along with Furwata Sherpa and Babu Chiring Sherpa, he achieved a double ascent in 1996, which Padawa and Kamirita have made appear effortless.
This recognition and ease in conquering Everest multiple times have made Padawa a distinguished figure among Sherpa climbers. Improved facilities and reliable weather forecasting have made Everest expeditions more convenient and safe.
Compared to the past when the natural ropes of the mountain were not as stable, now there are better measures in place to ensure the climbers’ safety. The availability of accurate weather information has significantly contributed to making Everest climbs relatively easier and more predictable.