The mantras dedicated to Tara, goddess of Buddhism and Hinduism, resonate every morning in Ventosa in the Calvell retreat in the Vall de Boí. Nima Doma Sherpa carefully accompanies the song that his mobile phone emits, just as he does when he is at home in remote Kathmandu. Belén Ortiz and Miquel Sánchez, the veteran rangers of Ventosa, are hosting Nima, one of Everest’s widows, for a few weeks. When an avalanche took her husband’s life, she realized that if she wanted to raise her family, her son, Pemba Chetten, now 16, and her daughter, Nima Yangji, 13, she had to get out too. earn a living as a guide for foreign tourists.
Miquel Sánchez, a member of the first Catalan expedition that completed Everest in 1985, and Belén Ortiz have invited Nima Doma to get to know the Pyrenees, to learn how a refuge works and also to make contacts with the community of mountaineers who can help. useful. Sánchez justifies the Sherpas’ work given that their role is essential for mountaineers to complete their ascents in the Himalayas. He is moved to remember the generosity of the late Narayan Shrestha, the Nepalese high-altitude porter who, exhausted after reaching the summit of Everest with the Catalans Toni Sors, Òscar Cadiach and Carles Vallès, on August 28, 1985, did not . hesitate to return to climb a few meters to help his colleagues in trouble.
When I was little, I saw tourists from all over the world passing by and offered them to carry their backpacks and get a few rupees
At 39, Nima appreciates a life full of setbacks, adventure and hope. He was born in Khumjung, a small town almost 3,800 meters above sea level in the heart of the Everest region. Since she was little, she would see mountaineers and trekkers from all over the world pass by and offer to carry their burdens and earn a few rupees. He also carried 14-liter water containers on his back. His father, now deceased, worked as a guide and in 1993 he climbed Everest hired by a New Zealand company.
“I left school after the eighth grade and at 21 I got married for love, it wasn’t an arranged marriage,” she says. I moved in with my parents-in-law and combined the work of farming, looking after the yaks and growing potatoes with being a housewife,’ she explains.
After his death, I stayed in the village for a year to honor Tshering’s memory, but then I went to Kathmandu, I wanted to offer our children a good education.
Everything went wrong on April 8, 2014, when a serac broke off on Everest and caused an avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas, including Tshering Wanchu, her husband. “He was in Camp 2, an agency had hired him as a cook. After his death, I stayed in the village for a year to honor Tshering’s memory, but then I went to Kathmandu, I wanted to offer our children a good education. I was ready that I didn’t want to stay at home, I had to go outside and see how far I could go on my own,” she elaborates. In Nepal or India, women who become widows are marginalized and often condemned to poverty.
Nima took action. He took an ice climbing course thanks to the help of the Junniper Fund, an American foundation that supports families of Sherpas who died in the Himalayas. “Learning to climb and getting my guide license gave me a lot of energy and in 2019 we organized a campaign to raise money with the goal of climbing Everest,” he adds. Nima and another woman who had also lost her husband in an accident on Everest, Furdiki Sherpa, reached its 8,849 meters on May 23, 2019. This summit brought them a balsamic dose of self-esteem, they showed themselves that they were in able to achieve what they set out to do.
My family doesn’t like me climbing mountains, but after my husband’s death, the government didn’t help me with anything, not in my children’s education, not in health care, not anything. I plan to continue working in the mountains at least until I turn 60.
After Everest, Nima climbed Ama Dablam, Chulu East, Lobuche, Island Peak and Cholatse. “My family doesn’t like me climbing mountains, but after my husband’s death, the government didn’t help me with anything, not with my children’s education or healthcare, with anything. I expect to continue working in the mountains, at least until I turn 60,” he explains. When he returns to his country in the next few days, he will guide a group of tourists on a trekking trip.
“The mountains give me peace, both in Nepal and in the Pyrenees,” he whispers after quickly climbing Punta Alta, one of the three thousand mountains near Ventosa.