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Pem, Moni & Pelzom

Crossing ledder on Khambu Icefall

At kathmandu airport pem & Moni

About Us

Pem Dorjee Sherpa was born in a small village in the high Himalayas in Nepal.  Moni Mulepati is a city girl from Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu.  The two met during a mountaineering training course in the Langtang district of Nepal.  During their training, they fell in love.  Like a modern day Romeo and Juliet, their story is similar.  In their culture they were forbidden to date one another since they were born to separate castes, one Buddhist and the other Hindu.  As time drew nearer to when Moni’s parents were to marry her off in a traditional Hindu arranged marriage ceremony, Pem and Moni became involved in the Rotaract Club, a youth organization in Kathmandu associated with the Rotary Club.

 

One day the local Rotary Club New Road City in Kathmandu proposed that they consider organizing a team to climb Mt. Everest in an attempt to hoist the Rotary International flag on its summit for the occasion of the Rotary’s 100 year anniversary.  Moni said she would do it and soon formed a team of three, Moni Mulepati as the team leader, Pem Dorjee Sherpa and Kami Sherpa, a fellow Rotaract member.  As they prepared for the expedition, Pem and Moni made a plan.  First Moni had to convince her parents to let her to climb Mt. Everest.  She told her parents that if they would allow her to climb Mt. Everest then she would promise, after the expedition, that she would agree to marry anyone her family had chosen.  At that time her family did not know about her relationship with Pem.  

 

As the expedition became near, Pem and Moni made a secret plan.  If they were to reach the summit of Mt. Everest together - then they would hold a ceremony on the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, and they would get married.  They kept this plan a secret from their friends and family and even from their climbing partner, Kami.  Moni knew that if her family found out, they would not let her embark on the expedition.

 

After eight months of organizing and training, they set off on a journey of a lifetime and began the approach to Mt. Everest base camp.  Forty-five days later, they found themselves on the summit of the world’s tallest peak, Mt. Everest.  On the 30th of May, 2005, they removed their oxygen masks at 29,035 feet and became the first couple to exchange their wedding vows on the summit of Mt. Everest, a feat that has not been repeated. 

 

Aside from their mountaineering achievements, Pem has worked on improving the quality of life in his home village of Chayangba in the Himalayas.  Pem has organized several service projects such as bringing a dental clinic, an eye clinic and other health projects to his village.  He raised funds to build a library, a school and a drinking water system in his village, and hopes to help other remote villages in Nepal in the same way.

 

Pem is certified as a Trekking and Mountaineering Guide by the Nepalese government.  He is also an active member of the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), The American Alpine Club, Nepal Mountaineering Association, and the Everest Summiteers Association.  Pem recently hiked 3,100 miles along the Continental Divide Trail from the Mexican border to the Canadian border as part of the Rotary Continental Divide Challenge, a fundraising effort by Rotary International to build a continuous trail.

 

Today Pem and Moni live in Ann Arbor, Michigan with their two beautiful daughters, Pelzom  and Mezel.  Pem and Moni are partner owners of a fair trade Nepalese gift store called The Himalayan Bazaar on Main street in downtown Ann Arbor.  They also operate an adventure travel company called Of Global Interest Adventure Travel.