Women can achieve anything they want to and this was proven recently by Lhakpa Sherpa who climbed Mount Everest for the 10th time.
The 48-year-old Nepalese completed her recent climb, which was reported by her brother and confirmed by Nepalese officials – making her the first woman to accomplish it.
She last made the 8,848.86m ascent in 2018.
“I felt like I’d achieved my dream when I reached Everest’s summit for the first time. I thought to myself, ‘No more just being a housewife!’
“I felt like I’d changed Sherpa culture, the status of Sherpa women and Nepali women. I enjoyed being outside of my home and I wanted to share that feeling with all women.”
Lhakpa was also chosen by the BBC as one its 100 most inspirational and influential women for 2016.
News of her 10th summit was broken by her brother Mingma Gelu Sherpa, who said she had reached the top at 06:15 (00:30 GMT). Nepali tourism official Bhishma Kumar Bhattarai confirmed the report.
However, Lhakpa’s hard work and achievements have yet to translate into wealth and recognition.
She began life in a village more than 4,000m (13,000ft) above sea level in the Makalu region of eastern Nepal. She is a member of the Sherpa ethnic group, descended from nomadic Tibetans, who are used to living in hostile high altitudes.
“I was born in a cave,” she said, breaking into laughter. I don’t even know my date of birth. My passport says I am 48.”
“I remember having to walk for hours, sometimes carrying my brothers to school, only to be turned away when I got there. At the time, girls were not allowed to go to school.”
Lhakpa is now known as Everest Queen, but in reality, she often struggled to pay for essentials
“I didn’t make much money. I couldn’t afford to buy clothes or pay for haircuts. I just had to focus on taking care of my children and then hope I had enough to return to Everest.”
Financially, things began to change after she learned to speak English well. She gave interviews, and spoke at events.
She got a sponsor for her ninth scale of the summit. But this time, her 10th, she raised the money through crowdfunding.
Lhakpa always starts her trek with a customary prayer. Safety is her biggest priority.
She has no plans to retire after this season. She wants to scale K2, the world’s second-highest peak. She is also thinking of climbing Everest in the future with her son and daughters, because “mountain climbing is my passion and this is what I want to do.”
“I’ve had a challenging life,” she added. “Mountains made me happy and relaxed. I will never give up. I want young women not to give up.”