Thursday, 28 October, 2021

Seventeen-year-old climbs Sagarmatha


By Binu Shrestha
Kathmandu, May 28: Sonam Sherpa, 17, has successfully climbed Sagarmatha, in the first summit of his campaign to climb the tallest peaks of all seven continents of the world.
Sonam, along with his father Purna Kumar (PK) Sherpa, reached the top of the mountain at 7.30 am on Sunday, formally beginning their campaign to climb the tallest mountains of all the continents to raise awareness about climate change. The two had announced the campaign three years ago but had not been able to begin due to technical problems and the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Talking to The Rising Nepal, the two expressed their happiness and said that their climb was an important step against climate change rather than an individual feat. This was Sonam’s first attempt on the mountain and he successfully reached the top on his very first try.
PK had already climbed Sagarmatha twice before – in 2010 and 2011 – during the mountain cleaning effort to collect biodegradable and non-degradable wastes from the peak. A resident of Mauwakhola, Taplejung, PK has more than three decades of experience in mountaineering and tourism and has been active in informing people about the negative impacts of climate change and global warming for years.
“My father’s love for the environment inspired me to launch this campaign. Having witnessed the effects of climate change in earlier expeditions and from the stories I heard from my mother, I felt compelled to work to preserve nature for myself and future generations,” Sonam shared.
The teenage mountaineer further said, “We initiated this campaign to climb the highest peaks of all seven continents because we feel that the message against global warming needs to be spread all across the world and Sagarmatha was the first step towards this.”
PK said that Sonam’s participation gave a special meaning to the campaign. “Climate change is an inter-generational problem so it is only fitting that the campaign against it also be inter-generational.”
“My son joining me is important because he is the next generation and he will be the one to continue this campaign after me,” PK added.
Having ascended the world’s highest mountain Sagarmatha of Asia, the father-son duo now plans to move on to Mount Aconcagua, 6,962 metres, of South America, Mount Kilimanjaro, 5,895 metres, of Africa, Mount Elbrus, 5,642 metres, of Europe, Mount Denali, 6,190.49 metres, of North America, Mount Vinson, 4,892 metres, of Antarctica and Mount Kosciuszko, 2,228 metres, of Australia.
“We had fixed a schedule to climb all the peaks but could not adhere to it because of several issues. But now that the campaign has begun, we will climb the peaks when the time and environment are suitable,” PK informed.
PK said that it was frightening to see the mountains growing ever darker due to the lack of snow.