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Arnot Spotlights Tshering Dorjee Sherpa
Posted on April 30, 2010

By Melissa Arnot

Without the Sherpa who work on Mount Everest, this climb would be significantly different. Most people assume that Sherpa is a job title, which is a common misnomer. Rather, it is a tribe of people, all sharing the last name Sherpa and first names given for the day of the week in which they were born. Our head climbing Sherpa is 38 (at least that’s how old he thinks he is) and from the Solu-Khumbu. David and I summited with him in 2008. He has kind eyes and a big, generous smile. As I sit down to talk with him, I can tell he is really nervous, as he runs his fingers over a book written in Tibetan.

Melissa: What is your full name?
Tshering: Tshering Dorjee Sherpa. My monk name is Nawang Nuru.
Melissa: Do you know that sometimes we call you Nolan? Because it sounds like Nawang?
Tshering: (He laughs out loud) Really?
Melissa: Where do you live?
Tshering: In Katmandu, my wife and me.
Melissa: Do you have kids?
Tshering: Yes, two girls. Older one 12 and little one 7.
Melissa: Ha! Two girls…that is why you are so strong. When did you start climbing?
Tshering: 2005…wait, 1995!
Melissa: (I laugh at his sense of time) How many summits of Everest do you have?
Tshering: Eleven. This is my first time as leader.
Melissa: You are a great leader. What advice would you give to inexperienced climbers?
Tshering: Maybe climb slowly, take drink, take rest, take more oxygen.
Melissa: Are you going to tell me that when we are climbing?
Tshering: No, no, you teach me, you are strong.
Melissa: What are you doing after Everest is finished this year?
Tshering: I am going to K2, I don’t know how this is, different mountain. Then maybe Cho Oyu, I will see.
Melissa: Wow, that is a really busy schedule. Are you excited about K2?
Tshering: Yes, it is good work.
Melissa: Is there a particular mountain you would really like to go work on?
Tshering: I don’t know. Maybe I like all mountains but haven’t had a chance to work on them yet.
Melissa: Do you like working as a climbing Sherpa?
Tshering: Yes, it is good work but sometimes the mountain is hard.
Melissa: That’s all my questions. That wasn’t so bad, was it? No math.
Tshering: (Laughing) No, no math.

After we finish talking, Tshering (or Nolan) immediately starts sorting through the loads that we will carry up tomorrow. He has an amazing work ethic and sense of caring. I know that if David or I need anything, Tshering is ready to help. Just when it seems that things are hard, I can always look up and see his warm smile and it brings me right back to where I am, and how lucky I am to have a friend in Tshering.

Author: - Friday, April 30th, 2010
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  1. Don Hoffman

    Very nice blog entry …. :)

  2. George

    Melissa: I admire your courage, your strength and most of all your dedication to persevere. You truly are an icon to us more novice climbers. Climb high and climb safe.


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