Dolakha’s Dawa Yangzum becomes country’s first female international mountain guide

Kathmandu, December 27

A 27-year-old woman from Dolakha’s Rolwaling Valley has created history in the mountaineering world becoming the country’s first female international mountain guide.

Dawa Yangzum Sherpa has achieved a certification from the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association after she completed a tough course on mountain guiding, officials at Mountain Guides Association confirmed.

“It was really a tough one but I have done it,” Sherpa, who summitted Mt Everest in 2012, reacted after completing the IFMGA certification course. According to her, ice climbing and rock climbing, among others, were the toughest tests during a five-year-long examination process that included multiple exams an aspirant guide needs to face.

File - This undated image shows Nepal’s first female international mountain guide Dawa Yangzum Sherpa. Photo: THT
File - This undated image shows Nepal’s first female international mountain guide Dawa Yangzum Sherpa. Photo: THT

Mountaineering fraternity often compares IFMGA certification with a PhD in mountaineering and the certification now permits Dawa Yangzum to make others climb the mountains including Mt Everest. With IFMGA certification, she has now proved herself capable of taking and instructing any person in a secure, responsible and autonomous manner for activities specific to the profession, in particular alpinism, climbing, athletic climbing, ski touring, off-piste, ice climbing and high-altitude mountaineering, among others.

It’s sure that Dawa Yangzum is now the South Asia’s first female IFMGA-certified guide, Sunar Bahadur Gurung, president of NNMGA, said. But, a research conducted by Red Bull claimed that there were no female mountain guides certified by the IFMGA in the Asia region till November.

“NNMGA is corresponding with the Japanese mountain guide association to verify the same,” Gurung said, adding that Dawa Yangzum now joined a group of around 6,000 other IFMGA-certified guides worldwide, with just less than 1.5 per cent being women.

According to Sherpa, who is long associated with the Alpine Ascents International, she completed a 350-km Everest sky race and became the second in female competition in 2010. She also completed the 350-km Annapurna Mandala Trail. She was the first Nepali woman to complete the climbing rescue ranger at the Mt Rainier. She also climbed the Yala Peak in 2009, the Ama Adablam in 2011 and Mt Cho Oyu in 2014. She also climbed the Island Peak, the Grand Tetons USA, the Yala Peak and Mt Chiki Go.

She is one of three Nepali women who first climbed Mt K2 (8,611m) under the Women for Change Expedition in 2014. She also made the first ever winter ascent of Mt Langdung in Rolwaling Valley last week.

“IFMGA recognition certainly gives me more responsibilities to work for the betterment of the mountaineering industry in the coming days,” she quipped.

NNMGA, a member country representative of IFMGA, is all set to handover a medal and certificate to Dawa Yangzum on the occasion of the 12th National Mountain Guide Day tomorrow. There are now 51 IFMGA-accredited Nepali mountain guides in the country while NNMGA has 23 more trained national aspirant mountain guides who are working in the field of mountaineering till date.