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Monday, April 20, 2015

Churrim Sherpa to climb Everest again ~ with bat and jerseys of Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes died in Nov 2014  after being  hit by a bouncer whilst at the crease in  Sheffield Shield clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground, sparking a massive outpouring of grief.

The World’s highest mountain peak Mount Everest is called Chomolungma in Tibetan and Sagarmāthā  in Nepali.  It is  8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level, located in Mahalangur section of the Himalaya on the Nepal-China (Tibet) border.   Turning the annals of History, in  1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon recommendation of Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time, who named it after his predecessor in the post, and former chief, Sir George Everest.
More than 3000  climbers from over 20 countries had made over 5000  recorded climbs. Hundreds have died in their attempts.  Sir Edmund Hillary and  Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the summit on May 29, 1953.  Tenzing Norgay was a Sherpa.  There are two main routes to the top, one from Nepal and the other from Tibet.  The southern route from Nepal is the most popular, and the simplest to do.  There are also 16 other recognised routes.

Adam Craig Parore, a stylish wicket keeper,  played 78 Tests and 179 One dayers for New Zealand.  Remember he played for Chennai Superstars in ICL.    He holds the record for the highest One Day International innings score without a boundary (96 vs India, in Baroda, 1994].  Parore is a Maori, and he summitted Mount Everest too, guided by Queenstown mountain guide  Mark Woodward who has stood atop Mt Everest eight times.  Edmund Hillary was a kiwi as well.   Like the ball that would wobble out of the gloves at times, Adam Parore failed in his first attempt but the grit and determination that he displayed during his cricketing career was to the fore as he succeeded in the second time despite running out of oxygen and "freaking out" several times on his way up. 

Many climbers dream of reaching the peak of the world's highest mountain at least once in their lifetime. Chhurim Sherpa did  it twice -- in one week ~that becoming a  ‘Guinness World Record’ formally recognized after almost an  year.  "People have set different kinds of climbing records in Everest," said Chhurim, -- the Guinness plaque  reads : "but no one has climbed twice within a week”.  Chhurim made her initial ascent on May 12 and then, after a two-day rest on her return to base camp, reached the peak again on May 19, 2012.

Growing up in Taplejung district in north-eastern Nepal, Chhurim's early romance with mountaineering blossomed when she saw tourists trekking through her village. She wanted to do the same. Concerned about the risks and dangers, Chhurim's parents, however, were wary of her planned Everest ascent.  She was determined.   En route to the world's highest peak, she also traversed the Khumbu Icefall at 5,486m as well as the steepest climb after Camp 3 (7,470m), all while carrying 15 kilograms of her expedition gear that she said seemed to weigh more like 50.  Though successful in her own right, Chhurim still laments not being able to continue school after eighth grade. There was no high school in her village and her family did not have the money to move to Kathmandu, or the closest town with a school.

Chhurim Sherpa,  the first woman to climb the Everest summit twice in a week, is in news again as she began her journey for a third ascent to Mount Everest on Sunday but this time some odd items were also part of her climbing gear.  She takes with her  a cricket bat and two jerseys belonging to deceased Australian cricketer Phil Hughes to the summit as a mark of tribute to the player.  Churrim would  carry the items to the top and back to Kathmandu, where they will be kept at the Australian embassy.

Sherpa (Tibetan: "eastern people") are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas.  Sherpas are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain. They have been of  immeasurably valuable to explorers of the Himalayan region, serving as guides at the extreme altitudes. Sherpas often prepare the route for the mountaineers to follow.

On 18 April 2014, falling blocks of ice killed 16 Sherpas as they attempted to fix guide-ropes through the glacial Khumbu Icefall at the base of the peak. The accident led to angry protests by the mountain guides who demanded more compensation and higher insurance payouts from the government.  After the avalanche, the Sherpas cancelled summit season in honour of their dead comrades and hundreds of disappointed mountaineers were forced to return home.  A year on, much of this anger appears to have dissipated and the Sherpas are returning to work.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Apr 2015.


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