NIMA GOMBU my climbing Sherpa
DID YOU KNOW !!!Greeting from my last night at base camp as were up at 6.30am and pushing for interim camp tomo night for one night stopover and pushing for advance base-camp the following day, Monday.
Had a good nights sleep “it’s really important to bang in as many good sleeps as possible on the lower sections of the mountain as its tough to sleep at super high altitudes” so yea woke at 7.30am great form ,sleeping bag got good test as it was a really bitter cold night,” good mountaineering sleeping bags are filled with white goose down ,the Down has the best thermal insulating properties available & natural aswell.
Breakfast I’m sorry to say boring but essential “porridge & omelet ” Black tea of course.
After awhile in base camp hanging around acclimatising you get to folk & over the last few days we keep bumping into this guy called billy “like my son ,brother & father so I won’t forget his name” Irish born parents & British born ,anyway great character, 6fter & tough as nails I’d say as he’s just come off mera peak after 20odd days @ 6000+ mts.
Well today was his puja day “blessing for safe passage to summit Everest ” and he kindly invited me along, great I said because the finally to the ceremony is as much chocolate & biscuits as you can eat “and if anyone know me sweet tooth daddy I am” so his team Sherpa had a lama “high priest” brought on from the local monastery “Rombu” so sat down facing this make shift stone alter draped in prayer flags with hot tea Being past round – one hour passed as the lama sang out these Tibetan chants, then a second as he rang bells & beat a small drum ,throwing rice to the gods of the mountain ,well I earned my chocs & biscuits – 3 hours later ..hahaha know what I deserved that ,oh all these ceremony’s are outside on open space at base camp and today it was freezing ,Jesus the wind & light snow was cutting me In two .. So hard earned treats” ill go to any length ”
So after that did a 3hour walk up the Rombu active glacier & it was beautiful loads of pics to share when I get a proper connection.
Grabbed a simple lunch with Nima & after I started to did for some info for the kids at home “whom I know are following ” ,so I called it DID YOU KNOW & I was blown away ,wait to you here what follows.
Q. Where did the name Sherpa come from ?
A. Sherpa name came from after Tenzing Norgay the very famous first Nepalese to summit mt Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953 all Tibetan & Nepalese mountain climber there after were call Sherpa.
Q. What is the worlds population of Sherpa
A. 200.000 Sherpa ,but climbing Sherpa 35.000
Q. What is a Sherpa job ?
A. To look after yak “high altitude long haired Cow” & sheep & general farming in high mountains.
Q. What height can Yaks live at ?
A. Yaks can survive easy at 6500 mts but find it difficult below 3000mts.
Q. Why are yaks so well looked after in Nepal ?
A. We believe in reincarnation where dead family members have come back to us in the form of the Yak.
Q. What is the Sherpa religion?
Q. Do Sherpa people have strong beliefs ?
A. We Sherpa people will never kill any living animal,we can buy meat but we don’t eat alot of meat if any.
Q. How long dose it take to become a climbing Sherpa ?
A. It takes 15 years ,first you start as porter carrying loads for expeditions – then cook for expedition – then you trek guide for several years then finally climbing Sherpa.
Q. So how did you get your Sherpa permit ?
A. After you done your time you had to got to go to a small sherpa village called Dargling and produce evidence of your apprenticeship.after you get climbing Sherpa permit.
Q. Nima what was life like growing up as a young boy?
A. Life was very difficult
My father had to walk 15 days to get to Kathmandu for work to get some money for our family & 15 days back , he would be away from home for sometimes one year.
Q. What games did you play as a kid ?
A. There was no games at 8 years of age we had to work the farm ,work the yaks & grow crops , potatoes etc. we never had games.
Q. Had you tv ?
A. He laughed . NO !!
Q. Did you get to school
A. Yes I was very lucky I got into the Hillary school “Edmund Hillary ” it was not a government school & it had 2 teachers 3 classrooms ..it was a gift in life .the only reason i got to school was because I came from a big family I small family no school ,as someone always had to work farm.
Q. How far was it to school?
A. One hour walk morning one hour back evening then we worked farm.
Q. Had you books & pens
A. Yes we had Nepalese books & only pencils
Q. When you were a young boy what did you Eat ?
A. We ate potatoes & Tumba – a mix of corn wheat called millet & mixed into boiled water .
We drank Tibetan salt tea,
Made from butter, yak milk ,salt & tea leaves all mixed together.
Q. Did you ever have sweets ?
A. Yes I was 10 years of age it was mollosses dark brown in colour made from sugar cane ,we used it for our teas.
Q. Had you lights or power at home.
A. No we had kerosene lamp & no power at all.
Q. If there was no money how did you live & survive ?
A. Each family would trade produce from there farms
People from the low lands would come up and we would trade exchange produce .
10kg of rice was traded for 30 kg of potatoes
10 kg of corn traded for 20kg of potatoes
Q. Was there boarder restrictions between Tibet & Nepal ?
A. Yes but we locals used to cross the mountain passes to avoid border controls sometimes the passes were as high as 5.500mts called the milliong pass or lamas pass.
Q. What cloths did you wear as Boy & young man ?
A. All our cloths were made by our mother she would spin the wool into yarn and knitt the garments. Our trousers were made from yak wool
Our father made shoes from yak skin or Hyde
We stuffed them with grass to make softer , we never had socks or knew they existed. We had no underwear.
Mother made gloves & hat from sheeps wool.
Q. Had you a house ?
A. Yes father made a two story house , ground floor the animals lived in & me and my 2 sisters & seven brothers lived with parents.
Q. So what happened if you got sick did you have a doctor.
A. Lama (priest)was doctor we would got to lama and he would say our sickness is a ghost & would give you direction as to get rid of ghost. Prayer work etc & sickness would go
Q. Nima Gombu (my sherpa) when did you start out as a Sherpa ?
A. I was 13 years of age.
Q. How much did you earn
A. 2 rubies – 15 euro cent a day , if that was today it would be €3 a day.
Q. Why did you want to be a climbing Sherpa ?
A . I followed my father & older brother who were famous Sherpa. All my family now are Sherpas.
We have world record for only four brothers to stand on summit of MtEverest at one time . Also all 7 brothers was it total 58 summits of Everest .
Q. What age was your first summit of Everest ?
A. I was 18 years .
I have summit Everest 17 times , twice without oxygen.only 3 people in world summit 17times 2 people 18 times and my brother is one of those two people and this year he’s summiting south side mt Everest making him 19 times Summiter –
Greatest record ever.
My father is still alive at 85 years of age and he was part of the porter team of the first successfull summit of mt Everest with Edmund Hillary & Tenzing norday in 1953 he was 33 years of age, so Sherpa was always in my blood.
Q.did you do anything you were proud of on Everest ?
A. Yes I took in 1998 16 year old boy to summit he was called Jobie , & i also took a 22 year old cancer boy to the summit called Sean from USA .
Q. You also must have seen some tragedy on mt Everest ?
A. Yes many in 1996 I was climbing with a Taiwan team as Sherpa leader to The summit & another team lead by another Sherpa from another company was also climbing , weather got very very bad and I said to turn back but one of the Taiwan team would not and I had to go after him , when I reached him he was very sick with altitude sickness and was dying ,I gave him my oxygen & carried him on my back down to camp four , on way down I seen the other team in big trouble , I stopped to help ,it was Scott fisher & Rob Hall I asked them to follow me, I took my climber maklau down to saftey “he lost toes & fingers but lived,I went back up with two Sherpa with extra oxygen & hot tea .
When I got back up I found Scott fisher nearly dead and I couldn’t help him, Rob Hall same also , I had climbed with rob in 94 – 95 -96 and today I could not save him –
Six died that day… Very sad day on mt Everest.
Also in 2010 I saved an Irish mans life army guy can’t remember his name , it was on south side of Everest . He was 57 years of age . He was travelling to slow & would not turn around ,told him to stop at Hillary step and he got altitude sickness and was dying ,I Carried him down and stopped a Dutch team with a doctor, we injected him with dextrose & I got him to camp 4 he survived.
Q. Nima are you married. & have family ?
A. Yes I married at 18 yrs of age & now have 1 son 2 daughters
I summited mt Everest the morning my son was born 1993.
Q. Last question what Nima is your final ambition in climbing.
A. He smiled and said I would like to do the double traverse of mt Everest South base camp to north base camp & back to south base – camp, it has never been done.And he gave me the biggest smile ever .
So guys this is my Sherpa
Nima Gombu at 42 years of age same age as myself.
What a life story and I’m grateful to be in such experienced hands. Talking about hands my fingers are frozen typing , but I felt it was such as fantastic life story that I needed to share it with you guys ..humbling final evening spent at base camp.We move on tomorrow so bye for now.Jason
Sent from my iPhone