Climbing Mt. Everest for the Nepali Girls

 

From Volume 1, Issue 1, 2017

Sarah, Thank you so much for coming on the show and talking with us again. I know I interviewed you, I guess it was last year, just before you decided to go to Mount Everest. But before we get ahead of ourselves, you could just start by telling the audience a little bit about what it is you do and about empowering the Nepali girls mission and a little bit of that activity.

Sounds good. First of all, thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk with you. I learned about Empower Nepali Girls. After a few weeks that I started training for Everest and I decided to quit, because, first, when I decided to climb Everest I was really excited and I kind of had started climbing mountains in South America that I wasn’t very prepared for and I decided to quit. The day that I decided to quit mountain climbing and forget about Everest, I met the founder of Empower Nepali Girls and I learned about the girls in Nepal who become victims of human trafficking or forced to get married at a very young age. When I heard about the stories of men that believe — In northern India — men who are entirely positive that if they sleep with a virgin girl, their HIV gets treated and they get well, so they buy the girls at a very low price. [The girls] get diseases and even if they survive and come back to their villages, They can never have a regular life. I hear about this and I was so moved and touched that I had to do something for them. So, I decided again to train for Everest. But, this time, not just for myself and personal achievement, but for the girls — to provide education for them. I promised them that I would raise a dollar per foot of any mountain I climbed in preparation for Everest. And Everest, for example, Everest is twenty-nine thousand feet, twenty-nine thousand dollars. This goes a long way in Nepal. This money provides for two hundred girls to go to school one whole year.

If my number is correct, it takes a hundred and fifty dollars a month to get a child through high school, is that what it was?

It changed to a 170 this year. It costs $175.

Right, that is still not much to actually change a woman’s life, right?

Exactly.

So, you became aware of the Nepali girls, then you decided you were going to climb Mount Everest, both to raise money and to bring more awareness to empower Nepali Girls. Maybe you could tell us a little  bit about your adventure as you started the climb?

Yeah, mountains like Everest take sixty days. I was preparing and training for two years in a row and I had to climb many mountains all over the world, and get training for [that kind of climbing] to be ready for Everest. Finally, I was on Everest. The season is April and May every year that all the climbers from all over the world go to Nepal and climb Everest. When I was on it on April 25, 2015 last year, a seven point eight earthquake struck Nepal and rocked the highest mountain in the world. I was at twenty thousand feet climbing in the famous Khumbu Icefall, which is a huge glacier. It is the most dangerous unstable part of Everest. [It] includes fifty ladders over deep crevices that have maybe a three hundred feet drop. Some of them, you cannot even see the bottom. We are crossing these fifty ladders; some of them vertical, horizontal, or forty-five degrees. We cross all these ladders to get to Camp One. I was climbing an ice wall — I was on the fifth ladder when the earthquake hit us. The whole wall started shaking left and right. An ice tower collapsed on my left-hand side and a piece of ice the size of a car fell down on my right-hand side. The wall started breaking down. I felt that I was inside the avalanche. There was so much debris and snow in the air that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see anything. I covered my nose and my mouth and I climbed up and I clipped myself to the anchor and I thought, “This is it. This is the end. I am going to be buried alive under the snow and nobody can ever find my body. This is the end.” I was really sad, I was really scared, but I felt a little peace knowing that I was dying for a good cause.
After a few minutes, everything stopped.

Right. Wow, that is pretty bad. Your experience on the mountain sounds like a movie. I am sure it is an adventure now, but it must have been extremely frightening at the time?

Yeah, I am hoping to make a movie out of my book.

 

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