Gorkhapatra Daily

Amputee Nawang Sherpa bags Everest Award

By A Staff Reporter

KATHMANDU, July 26: Nawang Sherpa, 33, who showed rare courage to scale Mt. Sagarmatha (Everest) despite being an amputee was conferred with the Everest Award 2004 at a function Monday.

The award sponsored by the Everest Summiteers Association (ESA) carries a purse of Rs.100,000 including a gold chain and a plaque.

The message of his success comes as ‘an encouraged and inspired soul can embrace even the rarest of feats irrespective of all constraints.’

“Self-confidence is what makes something impossible turn possible,” said Nawang who registered his name in the Guineas Book as the first Everest climber with an artificial leg. He scaled the highest peak on 16 May 2004 and stayed there for 51 minutes.

Nawang from Tapting of Solukhumbu had lost the entire part below his knee in a motorcycle accident in Kathmandu four years ago.

I dropped tears of joy when I reached the top. I remembered those friends who had saved me after the motorbike accident. I also recalled my American friend Tom Macmillan who funded me for the expedition,” Nawang shared his feelings with The Rising Nepal.

Asked what inspired him to climb the tallest peak, he said, “As I was lying in the hospital bed, I heard that an American disabled, who had lost his foot below the ankle had successfully climbed Mt Everest.

Wanche Sherpa, ESA president and Madhav Sharma, a tourism entrepreneur encouraged me to vie for the world’s tallest peak.

“They advised that I could make it if I had sophisticated equipment. This increased my self-confidence”

Prior to his final ascent Nawang had climbed up to two base camps to test his legs. Before the accident, I had a dream to climb Mt; Everest, said Nawang, who has been involved in trekking and mountaineering for the last nine years.

Nawang, only a literate is committed to the development of tourism. “We have to develop sports tourism to attract foreigners,” he said.

His words were transformed into meaningful action when he donated Rs.10,000 for the construction of the statue of Babu Chhiri Sherpa.

“The disabled need encouragement and opportunity, not mere sympathy,” said Nawang, a father of three children.

Speaking at the function, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Deep Kumar Upadhyaya said many disabled were depressed about their physical state, but Nawang’s success could prove to be an inspiration for them.

Upadhaya expressed the government’s commitment to launch clean up campaigns in the Everest, which has worried many mountain lovers from home and abroad.

Joint-secretary at the Tourism Ministry Shankar Prasad Koirala said that Nepal’s glory had spread in the world not just because Mt Everest is here but also because of brave Nepalese summiteers, who have set new records and broke the old ones.

Diwas Pokharel, ESA general secretary said that the ESA had been honouring the summiteers apart from focussing on tourism promotion since its inception four years ago.