She’s Climbed Everest More Times Than Any Other Woman But You Probably Don’t Even Know Her Name


Her name is Lhakpa Sherpa, and she has just made history by becoming the first woman to summit Mt. Everest 7 times. The Nepali-American Sherpa, who lives in Connecticut, by day works at a 7-Eleven store, and as a housekeeper. Adventure website recently ran a huge feature on Lhakpa, with the most striking part being how little knowledge of her achievements are talked about in the press, let alone by sports publications.

The 42 year old is one of 11 children, and was born in Nepal’s eastern Sankhuwasabha district where the world’s fifth highest mountain, Makalu, is located. Her siblings share her love of climbing, as one of her brothers has reached the Everest summit 8 times, and her sister once held the record as the youngest female to reach the peak. The record of the most Everest summits overall is 21, held by two men.

Lhakpa is also the first Nepali woman to summit Everest successfully, making that trip in 2000. Pasang Lhamu was the first Nepali woman to reach the top of Everest but died on the way down. It was in the year 2000 that Lhakpa met her now-ex husband, climber George Dijmarescu, which whom she had two daughters (she also has an older son from a previous relationship). They married in 2002 after Lhakpa had moved to the United States to be with him. Together, they climbed to the Everest summit 5 times – in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 (the 2003 she was pregnant with her second child!).

However, the relationship started to deteriorate after their first daughter was born, and Lhakpa experienced physical violence at the hands of her husband. On one particular Everest trip, a physical altercation occurred in front of other climbers, which resulted in Lhakpa being knocked bloody and unconscious.


As the violence increased and the daughters grew up witnessing it, Lhakpa eventually landed in hospital and a social worker turned up, helping them escape to a woman’s shelter. In her statement to authorities, it was discovered that she had been abused by her husband for 11 years. A month after going to the woman’s shelter, George filed for divorce, which was only finalized in January 2015.

Just like the horror she has endured in her personal life which she has managed to overcome, her extraordinary accomplishments climbing Everest a record number of times shows the resilience and determination she possesses. Despite this, few know about Lhakpa, Outside Online speculates it could be because the Sherpas the climb Everest are not often thought of on the same level as outsiders who come to attempt the climb.

The article points to a 2013 article which names American woman Melissa Arnot as “either the most accomplished female Everest climber ever, or the most accomplished non-Sherpa woman. (A Nepali named Lhakpa Sherpa is said to have from four to six Everest summits.)”

Lhakpa’s name isn’t even mentioned in the Wikipedia page for specific types of Everest accomplishments made by specific groups like the first twins to complete the summit, for example.


Melissa Arnot does know who Lhakpa is, however, and told Outside Online in an email.

“I’m not sure why no one knows about her. When I ask around to Nepalis, not many have heard of her. The first time I heard about her was in 2011, when I met her father when I was going to climb Makalu,” she said.

Oregon climber Dave Watson describes her as “A queen among the Sherpa people”. He was one of the people on the 2004 Everest trip with Lhakpa and George, where she was physically assaulted, the story of which ended up being included in a series of stories for The Hartford Courant by reporter Michael Kodas. These stories were later turned into a book in 2008 titled ‘High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in the Age of Greed’.

This made Lhakpa retreat into herself for a long time, and it ended up being a full decade before she decided to pursue en Everest climb again. Now having accomplished her 7th summit successfully, and moved on to a life away from the domestic violence she suffered under for too long, Lhakpa wants to see her life being made into a movie.


There has certainly been more media coverage of her after this accomplishment, as she deserves the kudos for her historic feat.

“Lhakpa summitted Everest at 5:00am (local time) today for the seventh time,” said Svetlana Nujoom, program manager of 7 Summits Adventure, which organized her expedition, on Friday, May 20. She wants to eventually surpass one of the 21-summit male record holders.

This story is barrier-breaking in itself, as traditionally the women of the Sherpa community stay at home, while the men climb. But then Lhakpa Sherpa is no ordinary woman.

“She has broken her own record,” said Rajiv Shrestha, another representative of the 7 Summits Adventure Company.

That statement alone is indicative of the type of strength we see in so many women who battle difficult circumstances to reach new heights. In Lhakpa Sherpa’s case, that height just happens to be the 8,850-metre high Mount Everest peak.

We can’t wait to see a movie being made about her incredible journey, and in the meantime, we certainly hope more people will get to hear about what she has accomplished in a male-dominated industry like climbing.




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