Lhakpa Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to successfully climb and survive Everest.
Lhakpa Sherpa

Lhakpa Sherpa was born in a cave at some point in 1973; however, the precise date of his birth is unknown. Other dates are more transparent. She achieved the distinction of being the first Nepali woman to successfully ascend and survive the Everest summit on May 18, 2000. After twelve years, on May 12, 2022, she completed a record-breaking tenth ascent of the highest mountain in the world, surpassing the number of times that any other woman had done it. A stunning tale of tenacity and unyielding determination, Lhakpa’s ascent to the highest point on the planet is a subject of great interest.

Lhakpa spent her childhood in close proximity to Everest, also known as Chomolungma, the Goddess Mother of the World, as the mountain is referred to by Tibetans and the indigenous peoples of Nepal. She was born and raised in the hamlet of Balakharka, which is located in the Makalu region of the Makalu region of Nepal. The Makalu mountain, which is the fifth-highest mountain in the world, is located close to this impoverished farming region.

As a child, Lhakpa did not receive any form of formal education and did not learn to read or write. Girls were not permitted to attend school at any time. It was expected of her to get married at a young age because she was one of eleven children, with three brothers and seven sisters. Lhakpa, on the other hand, was a tomboy who had a height advantage over her sisters.

As was the case with Alison Hargreaves, Lhakpa’s father escorted her throughout the ‘great hills’ of Tibet to sell salt. This was the moment that she was first exposed to the mountains. During their voyage, Lhakpa and her father traversed a variety of ecosystems, including river valleys, terraced fields, rhododendron forests, and high alpine pastures. Finally, they climbed the high-mountain cols, which were surrounded by the highest peaks in the world.

Lhakpa’s Sherpa physiology is well-adapted to the heights, as he was born and nurtured at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters. The sport of mountaineering runs in the family and is a family business. Mountaineers and guides, her brothers have scaled Everest on several occasions. Her brothers are mountaineers. By the year 2019, her oldest brother had climbed Everest ten or eleven times, another brother had climbed it eight times, and her youngest brother had climbed the highest peak in the world five times.

It was when Lhakpa was 15 years old that she started working for her uncle as a kitchen boy on Makalu. Her duties included assisting to peel potatoes and wash dishes. Soon after, she made a career move, leaving the kitchen to work as a porter, which is another traditionally masculine role. Her job entailed carrying heavy quantities of equipment up the mountain. She worked as a porter once more when she was 16 years old and climbed Mera and Yala, which are 6,000-meter mountains that are referred to as “trekking peaks.” These mountains provide excellent preparation for climbing the higher 8,000-meter summits in the region.

Even though Nepali women were not supposed to climb or work in the mountains, Lhakpa was destined to follow in the footsteps of the family business establishment. Mountaineering was something that her mother did not approve of:

What she said to the BBC was, “My mother told me that I would never get married.” “She cautioned me that I would develop an excessively masculine and unattractive personality.” ‘The locals informed me that it is a profession that is reserved for men, and that if I tried it, I would die.’

Disregarding her mother, Lhakpa started climbing seriously, and in the year 2000, when she was 27 years old, she made history by ascending to the top of Everest. As part of the historic ascent that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made in 1953, Tenzing Norgay became the first Sherpa man to reach the summit. Lhakpa reached the peak of Everest as part of the Nepali Women Millennium Everest Expedition, which took place 47 years later. Although Sherpa men had been helping people up the mountain for many years, this was the first time that Sherpa women had been allowed to climb and descend the mountain. It was a turning point.
Before Lhakpa, there was another Nepali lady who had reached the summit of the mountain. There were three times that Pasang Lhamu Sherpa had attempted to climb Everest before she ultimately succeeded on April 22, 1993. On the other hand, a severe storm arrived, and she passed away while she was descending.

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was elevated to the status of national hero following her passing. When the King of Nepal bestowed the Order of the Star onto the woman who was 32 years old and a mother of three children, she was the first woman to receive this honor. It was in her honor that the mountain Jasamba Himal, which is 7,315 meters in height, was renamed Pasang Lhamu Peak. She was also featured on postage stamps, and a life-sized statue was assembled in Kathmandu. As a result of the fact that no Nepali woman had ever attempted anything remotely similar to what she had done, the film Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest (2022) serves as an illustration of her exceptional life.


Lhakpa took over from Pasang Lhamu and pursued her passion for climbing mountains and redefining the identity of Nepali women. She did this by taking the baton from Pasang Lhamu.” During the year 2003, Lhakpa made history by becoming a member of the largest sibling group to simultaneously stand on the top of Everest. This accomplishment earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Lhakpa was accompanied by her sister Ming Kipa, who was just 15 years old, as well as her brother Mingma Myalu, who was 24 years old. Due to the fact that Nepal did not permit those under the age of sixteen to climb the mountain, Ming Kipa and Lhakpa were forced to ascend from the more difficult Tibetan side. Ming Kipa Sherpa made history by being the youngest woman to ever climb Mount Everest during this historic ascent.

Was Lhakpa Sherpa married?

In the year 2002, Lhakpa made yet another courageous step when she relocated from Nepal to Connecticut, where she would be living with her husband, Gheorghe Dijmărescu. They had first met at a party in the year 2000 at the well-known Rum Doodle pub, which is also known as Pete’s Eats of Kathmandu. This establishment is known for providing free dinners for life to every successful Everest summiteer.

Dijmărescu, Lhakpa’s husband, was also a mountaineer in his own right. When they came face to face, he was celebrating his second Everest ascent, having just completed the summit without the need of any additional oxygen. In the same way that Lhakpa’s life narrative was characterized by hardship and travel, so was his own. Having spent his childhood in Romania, Dijmărescu was a soldier who renounced his allegiance to Ceauşescu’s rule and managed to escape by swimming across the Danube. Before Dijmărescu arrived in the United States and began a new life, he was stationed in a refugee camp in Italy for some time.

The high-altitude couple travelled to Everest five times together to complete the ascent. Additionally, they were blessed with two children: Lhakpa climbed Everest eight months after giving birth to their first daughter, Sunny, and subsequently, she ascended the summit while she was two months pregnant with Shiny. According to Lhakpa, who spoke with Outside magazine, Shiny is overjoyed with this result because it indicates that she has also reached the peak of Everest.

On the other hand, Lhakpa’s marriage was everything but a perfect union. Dijmărescu was a very violent person, even though the marriage made it possible for her to leave Nepal and embrace the freedoms that Western women have. It was in 2004 when he assaulted Lhakpa on Everest, knocking her unconscious in an act that outraged the mountaineering community and made headlines across the world. The subsequent outrage did not significantly alter his behaviour in any way. Until Lhakpa and the two girls were placed in a women’s shelter in 2012, the attacks and hospitalizations persisted until that year. After some time, the couple decided to divorce.


Even though she has won Everest ten times, Lhakpa does not have it easy. Although she is endowed with talent, strength, and tenacity, as well as a natural affinity for the Himalayan mountains, she continues to persevere through a lot of obstacles.

Throughout the history of climbing, Sherpas have had a difficult time gaining prominence on the international scene. The Himalayan peaks are frequently climbed by Nepali climbers as part of their livelihood. However, they are commonly relegated to a supporting role that does not adequately acknowledge their extraordinary ability. There is a common misunderstanding that the term “Sherpa” is synonymous with it. However, things are not the same now. Sherpa climbers are making their own pioneering ascents, and establishing their expedition businesses, and some of them have become IFMGA mountain guides. One of these mountain guides is Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, who is the first female IFMGA mountain guide from Nepal.

In the meantime, the documentary Sherpa (2015) brought attention to the hazardous working conditions, low pay, demands, and cultural tensions that are characteristic of the Sherpas’ specialized labour on Everest. As Nepal’s tourism economy continues to expand, Sherpas are increasingly discovering work opportunities overseas.

The fact that I am a woman makes the situation even more challenging. There was no expectation placed on Lhakpa to climb in her society, which was usually masculine. She takes great pride in the fact that she has defied expectations and demonstrated what women are capable of accomplishing, which she believes is helping to a more widespread social transformation in her nation. On the local level, she conveyed the perspective:

They believed that a woman was incapable of doing it and did not comprehend what it was. I was unable to comprehend the reason for my desire to do it because, in their opinion, girls are emotionally fragile. The mentality of my nation is like this. They only respect men, whereas in the United States of America, both men and women are respected. I responded with a negative, stating that I want to change this notion and that women are capable of doing it as well. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t. Climbing is considered by some to be a male activity, and women have complimented me on my appearance, but I knew I had to go through with it. Not once did I give up. I received no assistance from anyone. First, they did not recognize what I was doing, but now they are beginning to do so. Both men and women are capable of participating in this sport.

Even though Lhakpa is an ultra-athlete who has climbed Everest more than any other woman in the world, she has had a difficult time attracting funding. A number of her Everest excursions have been completed using the same equipment, and she frequently relies on crowdsourcing to finance her journeys.

Lhakpa, who is an immigrant and a single mother in the United States, is required to put in a lot of effort in order to pay the rent. As a result of her reliance on food stamps and the fact that she frequently works two jobs at minimum wage, she is able to earn approximately $400 each week. Her schedule is packed with a variety of tasks, including housekeeping, cleaning, providing care for the elderly, working as a janitor or cashier at 7-Eleven, and working as a dishwasher at Whole Foods stores. As a result, she has very little time for training.


Despite the difficulties, Lhakpa is undeterred in his pursuit of his goals. In 2019, she provided The Guardian with an outline of her aspirations. Things such as sponsorship, time to expand her guiding business, and financial support to send her daughters to college were on the list of things she needed. According to her explanation, “These are not fleeting dreams.” “They are long dreams.” She is also interested in climbing K2. In 2010, she was able to reach Camp 3, but because to the inclement weather, they were forced to return home.

Lhakpa is still working hard to achieve her goals, even though she is currently in what could be her fiftieth year on our world. As time goes on, she is gradually gaining recognition for everything that she has accomplished. She was recognized by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential and inspirational women in the world in the year 2016. On the 24th of April in the year 2023, Lhakpa was awarded the renowned Tenzing Norgay National Adventure competition. Moreover, she has been given financial support to climb Mount K2.

Speaking to the BBC about her first ascent of Everest, she reflected on the following:

I had the impression that I had altered the culture of the Sherpas as well as the position of Nepali women and Sherpas. Being outside of my home was something I enjoyed doing, and I wanted to make sure that every woman had the same experience.

To summarize her aim and the reasons she became interested in mountaineering, she added:

“My life has been full of difficulties.” Mountains brought me joy and a sense of relaxation. Never will I give up on this. I hope that young women will not give up.

After labouring for several years to garner support for her endeavours, Lhakpa now has a new group of people working alongside her. As a result of their maturation, her daughters are now serving as her managers. Cloudscape Climbing, which is Lhakpa’s guiding firm, is open for business. In the present moment, she is getting ready to climb K2.

Lhakpa, the queen of Everest, may continue to pursue her mountain aspirations for a very long time.

Documentary ‘Mountain Queen: The Summits Of Lhakpa Sherpa’

Film Title: Mountain Queen: The Summits of Lhakpa Sherpa
Director: Lucy Walker

  • SK Global Entertainment: Charlie Corwin
  • OBB Pictures: Michael D. Ratner, Miranda Sherman
  • Avocados and Coconuts: Dalia Burde, Christopher Newman
    Executive Producers:
  • SK Global Entertainment: Sidney Kimmel, Brian Kornreich, Jo Henriquez
  • OBB Pictures: Scott Ratner
  • Avocados and Coconuts: Amani King, Lucy Walker
    Production Companies: SK Global Entertainment, OBB Pictures, Avocados and Coconuts
    Cast: Lhakpa Sherpa, Nima Sherpa, Sunny Dijmarescu, Shiny Dijmarescu
    Logline: Lhakpa Sherpa was the first Nepali woman to completely summit and survive Mount Everest. For anyone else, that might be the greatest challenge and achievement of their life. For the unforgettable Lhakpa — the funny, no-nonsense, and fiercely determined subject of this extraordinary documentary — it was just the start.
    Release: The film will be released globally on Netflix in 2024.

About the Film:

“Mountain Queen: The Summits of Lhakpa Sherpa” is a gripping documentary directed by Lucy Walker that chronicles the remarkable journey of Lhakpa Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to conquer Mount Everest and survive. Produced by renowned production companies SK Global Entertainment, OBB Pictures, and Avocados and Coconuts, this film promises to be an awe-inspiring tale of determination, courage, and resilience.


The film delves into the extraordinary life of Lhakpa Sherpa, whose ascent of Mount Everest marked only the beginning of her incredible odyssey. Known for her indomitable spirit and unwavering resolve, Lhakpa’s story transcends the boundaries of mountaineering, offering a profound insight into the human spirit.


  • Lhakpa Sherpa: The central figure of the documentary, Lhakpa Sherpa’s unparalleled achievements and unyielding spirit serve as the driving force behind the narrative.
  • Nima Sherpa: A supportive presence in Lhakpa’s life, Nima Sherpa provides valuable insights into Lhakpa’s journey and the challenges she faced.
  • Sunny Dijmarescu: An integral part of Lhakpa’s support system, Sunny Dijmarescu’s friendship and encouragement play a crucial role in her quest for greatness.
  • Shiny Dijmarescu: Alongside Sunny, Shiny Dijmarescu offers unwavering support to Lhakpa, showcasing the power of friendship and solidarity in the face of adversity.


With a stellar team of producers and executive producers at the helm, including Charlie Corwin, Michael D. Ratner, Miranda Sherman, and Lucy Walker, “Mountain Queen” promises to deliver a captivating cinematic experience. Filmed on location amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas, the documentary offers viewers a front-row seat to Lhakpa Sherpa’s awe-inspiring journey.


Scheduled for global release on Netflix in 2024, “Mountain Queen: The Summits of Lhakpa Sherpa” is poised to captivate audiences worldwide with its compelling narrative and breathtaking cinematography. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the extraordinary tale of one woman’s quest to conquer the highest peaks on Earth and inspire generations to come.

Who is Lhakpa Sherpa’s husband?

Gheorghe Dijmărescu, better known by his nickname George Dijmarescu, was Lhakpa Sherpa’s husband. A Romanian-American who was famous for his mountaineering exploits, including numerous ascents of Mount Everest in the early 2000s. He was also recognized for his escape from the tyrant Nicolae Ceaușescu of Romania by swimming across the Danube River. He died of cancer in September 2020 at the age of 58

Gheorghe Dijmărescu, Lhakpa Sherpa's husbandDijmărescu is famous for having climbed Mount Everest nine times, which was a record for a western guide that was subsequently surpassed by Dave Hahn, an American climber, in the year 2008. A Mexican climber who had been frostbitten was rescued by him in the year 2004. Dijmărescu and another climber named David Watson were the ones who coordinated the rescue of the Mexican climber. Watson later used the rescue of the Mexican climber as an example of what should have occurred to David Sharp, who expired while climbing Everest in 2006.

In the year 2002, Dijmărescu tied the knot with Lhakpa Sherpa, who holds the record for the most climbs of Mount Everest by a woman. Lhakpa Sherpa was the first Nepali woman to successfully climb Mount Everest and survive the experience. 2000 was the year when they first met in Kathmandu. Beginning in 2008, Dijmărescu struggled with a number of health problems.

A portion of Dijmărescu’s life is detailed in the book High Crimes, written by Michael Kodas. The book is about an expedition to Mount Everest that Dijmărescu arranged in Connecticut in 2004. In the book, Dijmărescu is characterized as a man who is violent, short-tempered, and angry, and who has tendencies toward dictatorship. In the Tibetan base camp of Everest, Kodas recounted how he saw Dijmărescu assault his wife, Lhakpa Sherpa, and how he felt so threatened by Dijmărescu that he thought he would break into their tents at night and assault them. Kodas also detailed how he witnessed Dijmărescu beating his wife. As soon as Kodas got back to Connecticut, he went ahead and installed a security system in his house because he was concerned about the well-being of his family in light of the persistent threats made by Dijmărescu.

The marriage to Lhakpa Sherpa ended in 2012 after Dijmarescu turned aggressive and assaulted her to the point that she was brought to the emergency department. A social worker from the hospital placed her and her two daughters in a nearby shelter, where they remained for a period of eight months.


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