About Tendi Sherpa
My name is Tendi Sherpa. I was born in the village of Saisima in 1983. Saisima sits in the Khembalung valley, a Beyul (hidden valley) and a most sacred place for Buddhists, in the Makalu Barun National Park in the Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal. The valley, like many other remote areas of Nepal, had no infrastructure when I was growing up – schools, roads, bridges, electricity, medical facilities etc. – and that largely remains the case today.
I started to go to a school outside my valley at the age of 5. This involved walking three days away from my home and my parents, crossing dense forests, facing the challenge of wild animals like bears, tigers, snakes and leeches, and crossing rivers swollen with the monsoon rains. I went to school for two years but life for me at school was not easy as I had to work for the family I stayed with in return for lodging and food and I could only go to school for 2 hours a day so, after 2 years, I returned to my village.
I then spent 5 years in the local Buddhist school as an apprentice monk before, at age 13, I travelled to Kathmandu for the first time to look for a job as a porter for trekking. My first trek as a porter was around Annapurna in 1996. On this trek I was carrying a load weighing 43 kg for 8 to 15 hours every day for 24 days. It was not easy at my age to carry that big load for that many days without proper equipment and, at the time, I was quite sad because my life in school had not been easy and now my life as a porter was not easy either! But I never gave up my profession as a porter and, as I got older, stronger and more experienced, the job became more comfortable.
My first mountain summit was Mera Peak, which I climbed with my father in 1997 at the age of 14, and that achievement gave me very positive feelings about climbing mountains. My first opportunity to climb on Everest came when I was 19 and I was asked to join the Everest cleaning project; I could not have been more honoured and happy! We removed about 8 tons of trash from the mountain, from Everest base camp all the way up to Camp 4 at South Col.
My first Everest summit was in 2004 at age 20, which I climbed via the North ridge. Summiting Everest was, for me, the key to securing my dream to become a professional mountain climber and guide. Now I have summited Everest many times. In 2007, I summited Everest twice in one week and that was a beautiful experience for me. In addition to Everest, I have climbed Lhotse Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Amadablam and many other 6000 metre + summits in Nepal and elsewhere. I completed my mountain guide training in 2011 and am one of the first Nepali to become an IFMGA certified mountain guide.
During my time working in the mountains, I often thought about doing something for my village to make life there a little better than it was when I was a boy and I started to realise that, with the support of my clients and friends, perhaps I could do something to help. As I believe education is one of the most important things in life, I gave first priority to this and, with the assistance of friends from Switzerland, we raised funds to help the children of my village go to school. We started providing scholarships to children in 2005 and now we support 22 children to go to school every year. With further support from my friends, I was able to undertake a number of successful projects in my village: building a new bridge, new houses to replace those damaged by the 2015 earthquake, smoke-free ovens to replace open fires for cooking, a ‘greenhouse’ farming project etc.
All my previous experiences in life have led to the creation of the Tendi Sherpa Foundation.