International adventurer Pem Dorjee Sherpa, who raised the Rotary International flag on the summit of Mt. Everest in 2005, is returning to Nevada City for two presentations in early March.
He will give a talk at outdoors outfitter Mountain Recreation in Grass Valley at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 1. The event is open to the public.
He will also be the featured speaker at the Wednesday morning meeting of the 49er Breakfast Rotary Club of Nevada City on March 5. Pem Sherpa is visiting the area as a guest of 49er Rotarian Larry Meek. The two met in 2005 when Meek, who had worked as a school administrator in Kathmandu, Nepal, was visiting his former Rotary club, Kathmandu Mid Town.
Pem grew up in the tiny Sherpa village of Chyangba, Nepal, where he was one of 11 children. He left home at 13 to work and send money to his family. He became a kitchen boy and later worked as a porter and assistant cook on several treks. He became a camp helper, guide and earned a Nepalese climbing certificate.
He made his first ascent of Mt. Everest in 2004 and his second in 2005, when on May 20 he hoisted the Rotary flag. Then, he and his fiancee, Moni Mulepati, removed their oxygen masks and at 29,035 feet exchanged wedding vows.
Pem was recognized at the 2005 Rotary International Convention in Chicago, where he presented the Rotary flag that had flown on top of Mt. Everest. The couple came to Nevada City in August 2006, and Pem took part in the formation of a Rotaract (youth) Club for western Nevada County’s five Rotary clubs. In 2008, 49er Rotarians Harry Auld, Dan Bibelheimer, Hal DeGraw, Mike Ferguson, Steve Leighty, Larry Meek, Barry Turner and Pamela Yazell traveled with Pem to Chyangba to participate in a dental/medical/school repair project.
Today, Pem and Moni reside in Ann Arbor, Mich., where they operate a fair trade Nepalese gift store, The Himalayan Bazaar, and a worldwide adventure travel company, Of Global Interest Adventure Travel, which specializes in custom treks.
Pem’s visit to the West Coast also includes a visit to Sonoma for the Sherpa New Year and a talk at Google headquarters in Mountain View.