Today we got invited to attend a Puja at K2 base camp by some of our Sherpa friends who are up there with their clients. A Puja is service of blessings on you and your mountaineering equipment for a safe expedition and safe return. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the hospitality shown and on our departure from base camp we went up to pay our respects to our fallen brothers who have not returned from their chosen expeditions. We were honoured to be able to wash and clean our friends memorial Mr Serge Dessurault.
Now, on the surface this all might seem very hypocritical of us as we have for months now said that the Pakistani folk should own this mountain not the Sherpa, in fact we have always said that Sherpa should not be here, it should be Pakistani HAPs. So to accept an invite to a celebration seems rather two faced.
Let us explain….
We have always respected Sherpa, this generation of Sherpa are intelligent, fit, strong, motivated mountain men who are able to dominate every aspect of mountaineering. Pete and I have both had the pleasure in working for a great number of them around the world and call a small number of them friends. We believe mountaineering in Nepal is better for their presence and experience.
But our plight, our cry is that we are not in Nepal, we are in Pakistan. And we have an abundance of willing, fit, capable men who could, with training and motivation be as good as our Nepalese brothers.
Pete and I call for the same opportunities as Sherpa were given in the 20’s 30’s and 40’s when Nepal began to take advantage of influx of western climbers to its valleys.
This may mean partnership working, this may mean climbers legacies, it may mean sponsorship but what we know it will mean is that the Pakistani men will have to lift their game a great deal to meet the exacting standards of this 3-4 generation of Sherpa. But over the past 6 years we have seen that Pakistani men are certainly willing to step up to the mark.