We’ve received an abundance of emails asking if Pemba Gyalje Sherpa has died in a mountaineering accident. We are clarifying that as of 23 March 2019, Pemba Gyalje Sherpa is still alive.
Over time, we get a lot of emails asking us to clarify details of the deaths of climbers or for verification of death notices.
Over the past month, we’ve received a large number of emails asking us if Pemba Gyalje Sherpa, the hero of the 2008 K2 Disaster, was dead.
Pemba Gyalje Sherpa is Alive and Well
We are clarifying that the climber known as Pemba Gyalje Sherpa, age 46, is alive and well. Pemba Gyalje Sherpa was recovering from surgery on his right wrist/hand, which he underwent on 14 September 2018. Dr. Viola at The Steadman Clinic performed the surgery.
Pemba Gyalje Sherpa began his rehabilitation process at Howard Head Sport Medicine and continued it at Elk Mountain Therapy Associates in Crested Butte.
In 2019, he resumed his climbing activities.
Pemba Sherpa Dies on Saser Kangri IV
The climber many people are confusing Pemba Gyalje Sherpa with is Mr. Pemba Sherpa, who unfortunately died on 13 July of 2018. Pemba Sherpa died while on an expedition to Saser Kangri IV. After heading back to Base Camp, Pemba Sherpa fell into a crevasse.
A rescue effort for him was concluded after two days of searching. It is believed Pemba Sherpa fell 131 feet (40 meters) down a sheer opening under a snow bridge.
Death Confusion: Pemba Gyalje Sherpa and Pemba Sherpa
Part of the reason many have confused Pemba Sherpa and Pemba Gyalje Sherpa is due to the common name they share. It is important to note that in Nepal, the Sherpa communities often use a set of common names as first and last names interchangeably, adding “Sherpa” at the end to note them as being of Sherpa descent.
Often, the “Sherpa” addition at the end of their names is used by westerners to indicate they are speaking about a person of Sherpa descent.
Common Sherpa Names
Common Sherpa names include and are not limited to the names below. Any of these Sherpa names can be used as a first or last name, with many variations between them.
We can confirm, that the climber who has died by the name of Pemba Sherpa, is not the same person as Pemba Gyalje Sherpa. The latter is best known as a survivor and hero of the 2008 K2 Disaster. Pemba Gyalje Sherpa underwent his hand surgery in September of 2018. This was two to three months after Mr. Pemba Sherpa died in July of 2018.
Pemba Gyalje Sherpa still plans on continuing his upcoming expeditions in 2019. In January of 2019, Pemba was on an expedition to Manaslu with Simone Moro.
We thank everyone for their emails and questions.