Hear from a Sherpa, and a Steamboat man who has climbed Everest, this weekend

The Sherpa Education Project is hosting an event at which people can hear from a Sherpa who lives in Steamboat Springs, and a local man who has climbed Mt. Everest.
Sherpa Education Project/Courtesy photo

In a town with as many active and high-achieving people as Steamboat Springs, climbing Mt. Everest isn’t all that farfetched. Of course, for many, just learning about the mountain and the surrounding area is thrilling enough.

Adventure-lovers from all walks of life can hear from a Steamboat man who has climbed the peak, as well as a Nepali-American who worked as a mountain guide, at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, at Bud Werner Memorial Library. 

The Sherpa Education Project is bringing in Matt Tredway and Nima Sherpa to Library Hall to not only educate people about the mountain that will remain a mystery to most, but the culture of the people who live near the peak and guide people to it. 

“People are interested in Everest and we actually have a Sherpa who lives here,” said Pattie Moon, a founder of the nonprofit. 

Tredway, a local leather worker, will talk about his time ascending the tallest peak in the world. He will spend a lot of time talking about his climb, but Moon said he can’t help but spend a lot of time talking about the Sherpa people. Attendees will also hear from Tracy Zaschlag, who accompanied Moon on her last trip to Nepal, and watch a short documentary about the Sherpa Education Project. 

When most people hear the word Sherpa, they might think of a guide up Everest. That is just one meaning of the word. People who attend will learn the many other meanings of the word, which means “from the east.”

While the event is free, people are asked to donate to the Sherpa Education Project, a Steamboat-based nonprofit that provides education to young women and men of the Sherpa culture in Nepal. 

Moon founded the nonprofit after an expedition in Nepal in 2009. On the first day of her trek, she twisted her ankle. That put her on horseback and she was accompanied by a couple Sherpa people to ensure she stayed safe. What seemed like a damper on the trip ended up being an opportunity to chat with the Sherpas walking alongside her. 

“On the first day I fell, but I really fell in love with the Sherpas and to this day they’re like my family in many ways,” Moon said. 

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Moon started the nonprofit in 2010, which isn’t the most well known locally, as it provides for people half a world away. 

The main mission of the project is to educate girls in the region, as they are typically the last to be sent to school. 

“We know that when a girl receives an education, she is better prepared to get a job, to vote, and to be more involved in her community,” reads the Sherpa Education Project website. “We also know that for each daughter that goes to school, we also help an entire village, as girls typically pass their learning along to their parents, siblings, and eventually, their own children.”

Additionally, the project provides a secular education to student monks in a Buddhist Monastery.

Following a devastating earthquake in 2015, the project helped rebuild schools and trails, and during the pandemic, when a lack of climbers cut off revenue streams for Sherpas working as porters, the project provided rice to the Sherpa who were struggling to support their families.

Moon wrote a book about the last living member of the first ascent of Everest called Tough and Cheerful. She showcased that to the Steamboat community in 2021. Selling the book is another stream of revenue for the project. 

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