Nepal | December 06, 2019

North Face athlete Dawa Yangzum becomes first Nepali woman to summit Mt Makalu

Rajan Pokhrel

KATHMANDU: A 27-year-old woman from Dolakha’s Rolwaling Valley has scripted history by becoming the first Nepali woman to stand atop the world’s fifth highest mountain this spring season.

According to the expedition organiser, The North Face athlete Dawa Yangzum Sherpa successfully climbed Mt Makalu on May 29.

Dawa Yangzum Sherpa

Dawa Yangzum Sherpa on top of Mt Makalu. Courtesy: Dawa Yangzum

“I climbed from the Advanced Base Camp (5,600m) to the summit (8,463m) in 21 hours, reaching the summit at 6:30 am,” Sherpa, the country’s first female international mountain guide, told THT after returning to Kathmandu.

Without any crowd to overcome, Sherpa reached the summit point while there was just her, and two other climbers – Mingma Dorchi Sherpa and Furba Kusang Sherpa – of the Pioneer Adventure Makalu Expedition, she said.

Earlier, she had decided to abandon the summit bid of Mt Everest. “As we scanned the long and slow-moving crowd snaking up the single rope line to the summit of Everest in front of us, we couldn’t figure out how long the delay was and it was simply too risky to expose our clients to the death zone for too long,” she shared, adding that they had to abandon summit push although the team members were within 1,300 vertical feet from the summit along with Sherpa team comprised of elite climbing group from Phortse village, only four hours of climb remained to reach the summit, under normal conditions.

Dawa Yangzum, who loves climbing, and providing mentorship to young, especially girls, to pursue their passion of climbing, is the first IFMGA Certified Female Guide in South Asia and the only one of the two female guides with IFMGA certification in the whole of Asia.  Her successful climbs include K2, Everest and the first ascent of two mountains in Nepal.

“Being The North Face Athlete, I will continue my passion for climbing,” Sherpa concluded.


2019       Mt Makalu: 27,765 feet

2019       Mt Aconcagua: 22,841 feet (highest peak in the Americas)

2018       Mt Denali: 20,310 feet (highest peak in North America)

2017       First Ascent of Mt Langdung: 20,856 feet

2014       Mt K2: 28,251 feet

2012       Mt Everest: 29,028 feet

2012-2018            Mt Rainier:  14,409 feet   (Summited over thirty times)

2011       Ama Dablam: 22,350 feet

2011       First Ascent of Mt Cheki Go: 20,530 feet

2009       Yala Peak: 18,500 feet

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