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KATHMANDU — The widows of two sherpa climbers, who died on Mount Everest, will try to climb the world’s highest mountain to complete the unfinished ascents of their husbands and hopefully inspire other single women, the pair said on Wednesday.
Furdiki Sherpa's husband died while fixing ropes for his foreign clients on the 29,035-ft mountain in 2013.
She said she would make a joint bid in May with Nima Doma Sherpa, wife of one of the 16 sherpas killed in an avalanche near the base camp in 2014.
"We are going to climb the mountain to close our pain and to honor our husbands by reaching the peak they could not," the two said in a statement.
Nima, 36, said both climbers had completed training and scaled two smaller peaks. Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains.
Everest, which straddles the Nepal-China border and can be reached from both sides, has been climbed by 4,833 people since it was first scaled by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953, according to a post by Everest blogger Alan Arnette.
Climbing officials say only about 500 of the Everest climbers were women. Of 295 climbers who have died on Everest since 1924, only 11 were women, according to Arnette's data.
"I say tongue-in-cheek that this is because women are smarter than men," Arnette said.
In 2018 there were 802 summits and 5 deaths, according to his numbers. The last woman's death on Everest was reported in 2016, Arnette said.
"Women are more risk averse," he said. "But I think it's good these women are raising awareness that sherpa women are as strong as sherpa men."
Furdiki, 42, who like most sherpas goes by her first name, said the death of her husband resulted in immense economic hardship.
“The death of my husband is not the end of my life," the mother of two children told Reuters. "I am undertaking the expedition to spread the message that widows can accomplish even such hard adventures."