Sonoma Sherpas plan benefit

A group of Sonoma Sherpas, some with guiding experience on Mt. Everest and at least 10 successful summits, are planning a fundraising effort to benefit the families of 16 Sherpa climbers killed in the April 18 avalanche that thundered over the famed Khumbu Icefall.

“There are 80 to 90 Sherpa in Sonoma Valley,” said Ngima Sherpa, “and about 450 in the Bay Area.” Ngima, who manages the Mertiage Restaurant and Oyster Bar on West Napa Street, and has climbed on Everest, said he and members of the local Sherpa community are hoping to organize a fundraising dinner, recruiting a number of Valley chefs with roots in Nepal to prepare the food, while local wineries are invited to pour.

“We’d like to get 300 or 400 people,” he said, depending on the available venue. Inquiries have already been directed to 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin to see if the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building can be used.

Many Sonoma Valley Sherpas, Ngima added, know some of the climbers lost in the avalanche.

Victims of the worst climbing accident in Everest history, 13 Sherpa bodies were retrieved and three are still missing. Most of the lost Sherpas were the sole support of their families, some with small children.

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