Sherpa Family Fund
It can be hard to feel the true impact of even a tragic event like the Mount Everest avalanche when they occur on the other side of the world. But, having a personal connection no matter how far away you are can make it really hit home. We were deeply saddened to learn that a longtime member of the Loomstate family, Pemba Sherpa, lost his cousin in this natural disaster. We took the opportunity to learn more about growing up in Nepal, what it means to be a sherpa on Mount Everest and we figured out a way that we, though so far away, could help. We've decided to donate 50% of all sales this week (May 22-May 27) to the Sherpa Family Fund, which will split 100% of what is donated among the 16 families affected. Shop to Support!
Are all Sherpas sherpas?
No actually, which was news to us too! Sherpa is a common last name for families coming from eastern Nepal. Sherpa is also a job title for the men and women who work on Mount Everest, caring for the trails and assisting visitors in summiting the mountain. People who become sherpas are born at a higher elevation, so their bodies and lungs are better equipped for handling the altitude, limited oxygen and challenging environment of the higher mountains. So, no a Sherpa is not always a sherpa. In our office we have Pemba Sherpa, who is not a sherpa.
Meet Pemba Sherpa!
Loomstate has a very diverse office, from Fire Island to Haiti. The furthest from home though is Pemba Sherpa from Khumjung, Nepal. It's only a full day hike to his hometown from the nearest city…that is, if you take a puddle jumper part of the way. As the only son in his family, he was not allowed to summit Everest. Instead, he studied commerce in Kathmandu and soon after began his career as a trip organizer in Kathmandu for expeditions and treks, which he ran for 15 years before making his way to joining the Loomstate family in New York.
What do sherpas do?
Each season hundreds of people attempt to scale Mount Everest. There is a ton of planning and prepping that goes into ensuring the survival of these daring people, coming from around the world. Sherpas, who acclimatize easily and are familiar with the terrain of Everest, will scale the peaks in advance to prep the trails and carry in supplies. The air is so thin on Everest that not even helicopters can drop supplies, the only way is by Sherpa and local yak. Sherpas can be climbers (those that go beyond Base Camp), kitchen staff and porters. All of these roles begin 2-3 months before the climbing season begins, and include carting supplies to the four camps, fixing ropes, putting ladders across crevasses (up to three ladders can be tied together to cross a crevasse!) and setting up tents. With high risk comes high reward - being a sherpa will bring your family 10x the amount you can pull from most other jobs and it is considered a prideful career by most families.
With such a high-risk trek like scaling Mount Everest there are many deaths that happen, and almost every year Pemba’s hometown community losses someone to the mountain. However, this avalanche was the single most devastating event to happen on Everest. The avalanche occurred on the first day of preparing for the season. More than 50 sherpas were hiking in a line from Base Camp and Camp One, where an avalanche wiped out a section of 16 climbers. Pemba's 24-year-old cousin Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa, who has a one-month-old daughter, was one of the lost climbers. This avalanche has deeply saddened his NY-based Sherpa community because so many were loved ones, including Pemba's cousin. They were quick to react, though, and began raising support for the affected families. And we would like to help now. Read more information here.
The Sherpa community in NY is pooling their resources and calling on friends to raise money to be split evenly amongst the 15 families who lost a loved one. 100% of the money that is raised through the Sherpa fund will be donated. You can donate directly on the website, or we'd also like to give you the option to fundraise as you're filling in your spring wardrobe. Loomstate will donate 50% of all purchases (with the exception of our already fundraising tees and Maria Moyer jewelry) to this Sherpa fund. Directly donate here.
Each of the sherpas was a father and provided the main income for their families, so this money will go toward education for their kids, general family expenses like food and for a traditional funeral service. Nepalese funerals are also very long and quite expensive - cremation, hiring a monk for services, and the tradition of providing others in the town with rice, money, butter and salt to bring good luck to the deceased in their next life.
**From May 22 - 27 Loomstate will donate 50% of your online purchase to the Sherpa Family Fund. This offer does not include our Maria Moyer jewelry, Sandy Recovery Tees, or the Surfer's Healing Tees (since these are already fundraising for a cause). Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.