Last year Christopher Parsons travelled to Sagarmatha zone in Nepal as the winner of the Project Pressure and Glacier Trust open call. He joined a research team of students and staff from Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University, as they studied glaciers and permafrost in the region. Travelling via Tengboche, Dingboche, Chhukung and eventually arriving at Imja Tscho Lake the group observe the Lhotse Shar, Ambulapcha and Imja glaciers. During the expedition Chris kept a diary of the trek and the people he met, here is his entry from day 5;
Monday, 17th October 2016 – Phortse 3810m to Dingboche 4410m
Woke up today still feeling good after a fairly easy days trek yesterday, I was preparing for what was supposedly going to be our hardest day trekking. During breakfast I spoke more with Jeff and Alina (Professor Jeffrey Kargel and Alina Karki) about their interviews with locals. They were gathering real life stories of what it was like during the Earthquakes of April 2015 that devastated this region of Nepal. I was honoured to be invited to sit in on the interviews to document them and take portraits.
Each of the stories touched me, these were personal accounts of events during the earthquake that happened inside the very rooms in which we were sat. One interviewee that stood out to me personally was a hotel owner who we interviewed in his kitchen as he cooked chips alongside his mother and sister.
Phutashi Sherpa told us in precise detail what happened in his hotel and also in his village of Upper Pangboche (4000m). It was then towards the end of the interview I found out the man stood in front of me had also summited Everest 12 times as well as many other peaks, including the mighty Ama Dablam. I took his portrait very quickly while trying to process all the information from the interview.
During lunch nearby, in the same village, I realised the man I had just met was one of the unsung Sherpa heroes who support and guide many British and American ‘adventurers’ on their quest to summit… I knew I had to go back to Putashi’s hotel and take his portrait again and thank him for sharing his story with us. Without people like Putashi and the other Sherpas, expeditions in the mountains would not be possible.