At the end of June, I was attending an interaction program organized by Trekking Guide Association of Nepal (TGAN) where I came across a woman wearing a t-shirt with ‘Tsampa’ written on it, which looked liked a brand which I was familiar with. Then I remembered Stephanie (AFP 2016, LFP 2017 & 2018) had sent me a picture of Tsampa in a pack at a store in Seattle back in 2017! 

Nima and Furdiki at Nepal Mountain Academy 

What is Tsampa?
Basically, ‘Tsampa or Tsamba is a Tibetan and Himalayan staple foodstuff, particularly prominent in the central part of the region. It is roasted flour, usually barley flour and sometimes also wheat flour. It is usually mixed with the salty Tibetan butter tea. It is also eaten in Turkestan and Mongolia, where it is known as zamba.’

Tsampa at a store in Seattle! Picture by Stephanie 

I had to ask – who are you and why are you wearing a Tsampa t-shirt!? What’s the story behind it? As I was speaking to her I could see excitement and determination in her voice.
Hey! My name is Nima. I just climbed Everest this spring season and Peak Sherpa (makers of Tsampa cereal) were one of the sponsors. 

Oh wow! I didn’t expect that at this trekking guide interaction program. Can you tell more about yourself and your friend next to you?
Nima – I was born in Khumjung, a village in Solukhumbu District, a land of Sherpas and numerous mountain peaks including Mt. Everest located in north-eastern Nepal. I started as a porter/guide when I was 18 years old and moved up the ladder as a trekking guide.

Furdiki – Hi my name is Furdiki Sherpa and Nima and I climbed Everest together. Like Nima I’m also from Solukhumbu, a village called Dingboche, on the way to Everest Base Camp. We are childhood friends. 

Women at work

How did you get into mountaineering? What was your goal to climb the highest peak in the world?
Furdiki – Mountaineering genes runs in our family. My dad Nima Sherpa was an ice fall doctor and unfortunately died in 2012 died illness. Both my and Nima’s husbands were mountaineers and lost their lives to the mountains. Now, as a single women, this was our first time ever climbing Everest.

Nima and Furdiki – We want to break stigma surrounding single women and inspire other single women to set and achieve their goals. You should not be confined in homely duties and worry about what other people think. We wanted to do more than fulfill our family responsibilities, break the status quo of women’s ‘place’ in the society and show the world that single women too can have dreams and climb mountains, of their own, whatever that be. 

Nima and Furdiki on top of Everest with their message and sherpa hats

How did you manage funds to climb Everest?
Nima – We fundraised in our villages in Solu and in Kathmandu. Friends and families supported us from Nepal and abroad. Our budget for climbing Everest was 40 lakh (~USD 40,000) per person but we only managed to raise 20 lakhs. We got climbing cloths and equipments on a sponsorship which helped a lot. Jeff a friend or mine provided a North Face summit jacket, USA. Peak Sherpa sponsored chocolate bars, tsampa and caps.

Friends on and off mountains

Now that you have climbed Everest, what are your future plans? What do you do when not climbing?
Nima and Furdiki – Our next goal is to climb seven summits. Also, we would like to open an organization for single women and work for their welfare. We work as trekking guides when not climbing.

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