Adventurer of the Year: From Climbing Everest to Helping Earthquake Victims

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita broke down barriers when she became the first female mountaineering instructor in Nepal, a career traditionally reserved for men. Her love for the sport led her to summit the two tallest mountains in the world, Everest and K2.

When a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, Pasang Lhamu was within an hour’s walk of Everest Base Camp. She quickly returned to Base Camp and witnessed the death and destruction wrought by the tremendous earthquake. Knowing there would be a long road to recovery, she immediately coordinated friends, family and colleagues to lead relief efforts in nearby regions.

Instead of using expensive helicopters to deliver supplies to remote areas, she mobilized local porters, who are skilled in navigating the challenging terrain and who also needed financial support for their families. She then began posting about her efforts on Facebook, garnering donations from connections all over the world.

Her teams delivered food, tarps, blankets and mattresses and set up temporary shelters and health assistance camps to provide additional support to numerous remote regions in need.

Congratulations to Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, the 2016 National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year.

Additional footage provided by Shutterstock.