This post in an excerpt taken from the original blog post up on www.honeyguides.com.
“Pasang Sherpa, commonly known as Instructor Pasang among the Himalayan climbing fraternity, has a hearty boisterous laugh. Disarming and contagious, the laugh is the hallmark of the people of the high Himalayas. It is not the measured and polite laugh of a Kathmanduite or the shy and meek laugh of the lowlands. It is the laughter that shows openness, confidence and love of life that is so characteristic of the people of the mountains.”
Pasang Sherpa is highly skilful and proficient person. He is one of a few IFMGA certified mountain guides in Nepal, Vice-President of Nepal National Mountain Guide Association (NNMGA), Executive Board Member of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), multiple Everest summiteer and a highly respected climbing instructor. Having being a guide for a long time, Sherpa is well-rounded about the terrain as well as the temperament of the client. He is the one of the favourite guides for travellers and a role model for other guides.
However, things were not always the same. Alike other guides, Sherpa too had a tough start. Back in 1989, he started his career has a spare boy, the guy who carries food ration of the group.
“Times were such when the sirdar (the lead guy responsible for all logistical work and staff) and the cook had the ultimate authority. And that became a problem for young Pasang when the cook asked him to kill a chicken for the camp. Since killing is against the Sherpa cultural more, he said he wouldn’t do it. Young Pasang tried to make his case by asking how he could kill a chicken when he couldn’t even kill a fly? The cook responded with three days of food deprivation when Pasang was carrying a 45 kg load in rarefied atmosphere.”
He worked as a spare boy from 1989 to 2005. The partisanship that prevailed in Nepal was a major hindrance for Pasang. For instance, Despite of being highly qualified, he was denied entry to Basic mountaineering course in 1999. The hurdles never stopped Pasang from attaining his goal. He climbed Pisang Peak with experienced mountaineers with a purpose of learning the ropes. He completed the course in 2002 with the help of his mentor, late Iman Gurung.
“For an Instructor Upgrading Course- Rock Climbing, he used the slip of a friend whose name was also Pasang Sherpa. Having signed up for the course, the other Pasang had to leave for the United States which gave our Pasang a free opportunity. He aced the course with flying colors even though he hadn’t signed up for it!! Having ‘Pasang’ as a common Sherpa name sure has its perks!! Also in the lead up to his first summit bid, Pasang was given Rs. 60,000 to collect gear for himself and he didn’t know how much he was getting paid either. “
Sherpa was first out of 135 to set foot on Everest Base Camp in 2005 climbing season. Between Mt. Everest Base Camp and the summit, he helped rescue two people, one a foreign climber who perished at the Ice Fall’s popcorn zone and another a fellow Nepali mountain guide who was injured in an avalanche at Camp II. The next day when he got to Camp I, a huge avalanche the night before had flattened the entire area. He remembers how if it weren’t for the rescue operation he would have been in Camp I a day earlier and under the avalanche during the night. Also during the two rescue operations he realized that the skill level of a lot of guys who work the Everest route wasn’t good enough. He started to work to change on that once he was back in Kathmandu.
As a member of the technical committee of Nepal Mountaineering Association, he made radical changes in the NMA training syllabus in 2005 which has made the slopes of the Himalayas safer. For instance, After 2005, only qualified instructors were allowed to teach mountaineering and climbing courses. And as an instructor he has worked hard himself to bring the best techniques to the up and coming mountain guides. He says, “Trainings like these are very important, because going forward guides without certification and practical training will not be able to compete in the adventure market.” Apart from bringing about sweeping changes in training and climbing courses, he is concerned about the declining price of travel packages which has eventually affected the income of people involved in it. If the declination in price continues, he fears that tourism will eventually come down to zero. The only way out of this he suggests is to regulate prices along the trekking regions and put the brakes on the cost cutting. We need to compete on quality not on price he says.
To Read the full Story about the Journey of Pasang, Click here