Nepal’s Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita has been nominated National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year 2016. Apart from being a highly talented mountainer, Pasang Lhamu distinguished herself for her role in relief efforts after the country suffered a severe earthquake in April 2015.
Nepalese mountaineer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita on the summit of K2 on July 26, 2014.
Photo by National Geographic
The 31-year-old mountaineer who grew up in Lukla was nominated for the award for “her courageous efforts to help her fellow Nepalis after last year’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake.” Pasang Lhamu was selected from a list of 10 honorees announced in mid-November, and the public had been invited to cast their vote until 31 January 2016.
Pasang Lhamu is considered one of the best women climbers in Nepal and an important example for everyone. In 2006, she became the first woman to summit Nangpai Gosum (7321m), while a year later, aged 22, she summited Mount Everest. In 2012 she climbed Ama Dablam (6812m) with the first all-women Nepali-French expedition and in 2014, she ascended K2 with two other Nepali women. Furthermore, she is also the first female mountaineering instructor in Nepal, a fact of not secondary importance in the very much a male-dominated Nepalese society.
On 25 April 25, 2015 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, killing and injuring thousands. Pasang Lhamu tirelessly helped in relief efforts, raising money to buy and distribute supplies, including mobilizing local porters to reach remote villages. Since the deadly earthquake, she has helped provide more than 11,000 blankets to people in need in the hardest hit regions such as Gorkha, Dhading, Sindhupalchowk, Kathmandu and Dolakha.
“I am very humbled and happy to receive this award, although I believe there are many other adventurers who also deserve it,” Pasang Lhamu said. “I would like to thank my supporters back home in Nepal and around the world, and I am very appreciative to get all of their support. I would also like to thank National Geographic for recognizing our efforts helping Nepal. Personally, I hope receiving this award will encourage more women all over the world, especially in Asia, to enter the mountaineering world.”