Former Mt. Everest Sherpa works to help Nepal from home in Boulder

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BOULDER, Colo. -- An estimated 100 Sherpas from the recently hard-hit region of Nepal now live in Colorado, most in the Boulder area.

One of them, Pemba Sherpa, a former Mt. Everest expedition guide, now owns Boulder’s Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant and Bar.

Twice a year, Pemba leads groups from the area on treks near his home village in the Himalayas.

Now he’s hoping to do even more, helping those in one of the poorest regions in the world, recently struck by tragedy.

At Boulder’s Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant and Bar the walls tell hundreds of stories. “These are all the Sherpas who summited Mt. Everest,” Pemba says pointing to the pictures of men on the wall.

“These people do take a big risk,” he said.

For Pemba, it’s a tribute to his time growing up in the shadow of the peak Sherpas call, “The goddess of humanity and prosperity.”

“They believe that it’s actually god living on Everest,” Pemba said.

The walls also serve as a reminder to the years he spent as a guide on that very mountain, Mt. Everest. “It’s a very hard job. You have to deal with avalanches, you have to deal with altitude. You have to deal with sick clients. You have to make sure everyone is safe.”

As he sits in his restaurant nearly 8,000 miles away, “What else can be worse than this you know?” he says as he watches images flash across news on the TV.

The aftermath of the earthquake and avalanche is not lost on the life-long mountaineer. His cousin is one of Everest’s  recent victims.

“Very devastating to look at. I mean some are just completely destroyed. Most of the houses are cracked,” he says.

For Pemba, it’s just mother nature who’s taken half of the men pictured here. “I know almost every one of them.”

Now – from his home away from home – he feels it’s his job to help rebuild what mother nature destroyed. “Lots of my friends and family are really going through difficult times,” he said.

Pemba recently started Sherpa Chi, a company that sells tea harvested in the Himalayas. Sherpa Chi is sold in all Colorado Whole Food Markets.

Pemba says all of the proceeds from the sale of tea will go to help rebuild the homes of 200 families who live in the shadow of Mt. Everest.

He’s hoping to start before winter sets in in a few months. Find more information on how you can help.

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