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Sherpa dies after leading Flathead man to top of Everest

by JEREMY WEBER
Daily Inter Lake | June 6, 2021 12:05 AM

Just days after his successful summit of Mount Everest, Steve Stevens received a grim reminder of how dangerous the mountain can be when he learned of the death of the sherpa who had guided him to the top of the world.

Six days after making his fourth summit of Everest with Stevens, 28-year-old Pemba Tashi Sherpa was returning from a supply run to Camp II when he fell into a crevasse and was killed.

Stevens, who received the news via text moments after his plane landed in Chicago during his return trip from Nepal, was shaken by the news.

“He was so full of energy and so strong with the most amazing smile and a personality that everyone fell in love with. It really sets in the dangers of climbing Everest,” Stevens said. “We crossed that same area together five times. It could easily have been me that met that fate; it could have been anyone up there.”

Tashi’s body was recovered and returned to his wife, Lhakpa Kippa Sherpa, daughters Nyima Yangi (5), Lhakpa Khandu (2), and son Pasang Dawa (3) in his hometown in Sankhuwasabha.

Tashi’s death was the third on Everest this climbing season as an American and a Swiss climber both died reportedly due to exhaustion while descending from the mountain May 13, just one day after Stevens’ successful summit bid.

With a record-high 408 climbing permits issued for Everest this spring, it is estimated that more than 800 climbers have been on the mountain this season, including sherpas.

To date, Everest has claimed the lives of 307 climbers, more than 100 of which remain on the mountain.

Tashi had served as Steven’s guide during an acclimatizing climb of 20,705-foot Lobuche earlier this climbing season before leading him to the summit of Everest May 12.

“I always take my banner to the summit and have my guide sign it. I have what was probably his last autograph on my banner,” Stevens said. “It’s their job. It’s what they do. They know the risks. The average yearly income in that area is around $1,000, so sherpas make more money in a month than most people over there do in a year, but it is a dangerous job. It’s a tough deal all the way around.”

Stevens has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Tashi’s family. It can be found online at gofundme.com/f/pemba-tashi-sherpa-memorial-fund.

Reporter Jeremy Weber may be reached at 406-758-4446 or jweber@dailyinterlake.com

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Twenty-seven-year-old Pemba Tashi Sherpa left behind a wife and three small children when he was killed in an accident on Mt. Everest May 18. (Photo courtesy of Steve Stevens)

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Pemba Tashi Sherpa (left) and Steve Stevens stop for a quick photo near the summit of Mt. Everest May 12. Tashi died in an accident on the mountain less than a week later. (Photo courtesy of Steve Stevens)

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