Fame on the Highway

So we’re walking along the Everest Highway today, between Phakding and Lukla, when I hear a familiar Sherpa voice call out to me “Hey, hello!” He’s headed up toward Everest, we are headed down. I pause and look into his sun-drenched, beaming face as he removes his sunglasses. “I am Lakpa,” he continues, to fill me in. I immediately recognize him as one of the climbers I met at Seattle’s Losar (Sherpa New Year’s Celebration) in February. He lives in Seattle and is the sponsored athlete for Seattle-based Sherpa Adventure Gear. I greeted him warmly and spent several moments in shock that he remembered me and recognized me way over here on the Everest Highway. When I met him in February, AC introduced him as Lakpa Sherpa, 16-time Everest Summiter. So I stand there, on the Everest Highway, exchanging small talk, introducing Mary Beth, Ang Tsering and Dawa (one of Ang Tsering’s friends who joined us today) and marvel that this famous Sherpa recognized me, not the opposite.

“Wow, thank you for recognizing me! So you are going for 17?” I ask
“Yeah, if I make it.” He replies with standard Sherpa humility.
“You will make it. Best of luck.” I reply. And we part ways.
Once he is out of ear shot, I turn to the rest of my group beaming. “A famous Sherpa just recognized me on the Everest Highway!” I shake my head in disbelief.
“Yeah, you are famous!” Dawa says. We all laugh.

It totally made my day. The crazy things that happen to me in Nepal…(head wag). Lakpa, we’ll be watching for you on the Everest News, ready to celebrate when we see your name. I hope to see you back in Seattle after the summer climbing season.

Update: Lakpa Rita Sherpa completely his 17th summit of Mt Everest successfully in May 2013. Congratulations dai!