CAN's Patron Sir Chris Bonington, along with Doug and other supporters of the Sherpa Heritage House project, were invited to The Prince of Wales's 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration through their close involvement in helping Pertemba Sherpa restore his ancestral home in Khumjung.
When HRH Prince Charles undertook his first trek in Nepal, along the aptly named Royal Trek, he was guided by Pertemba Sherpa who, among his many accomplishments has climbed Everest three times including the first ascent of Everest by a British team in 1975. The team, which was led by Chris Bonington, put Doug Scott and Dougal Haston on top of the world - a mountaineering feat in its own right.
Scroll forward three decades to 2006 when Pertemba undertook to preserve his ancestral home in order to save the culture and heritage of the Sherpas. He was very concerned that in a fast changing world younger generations of Sherpas would grow up without any knowledge of their old ways of living.
Pertemba donated his ancestral home, the oldest house in Khumjung, which is built in the traditional Sherpa style using slate and stone with carved doors, windows and furniture. The house comprises two wings joined at right angles to each other - the living wing for accommodation and the religious wing for prayer which also houses statues, sacred texts, Buddhist emblems and other artifacts.
HRH Prince Charles agreed to be the Patron of the Sherpa Heritage House project and a fund raising committee, spear headed by Doug, Chris and Maggie Burgess was set up. Following a successful campaign sufficient funds were raised to enable Pertemba's home to be rebuilt (2012) as a living museum to reflect the old Sherpa lifestyle connecting the people, their livestock, their religion and the mountains. A second building, the nearby tea house was also renovated as the profits from this enterprise would go toward the upkeep and maintenance of the Heritage House.
Sadly, during the 2015 earthquakes the Heritage House suffered severe damage but Pertemba was adamant he did not want there to be any restoration work until homes in his community had been rebuilt and friends and neighbours had roofs over their heads once again. This year, three years after the earthquake and following a substantial rebuilding of houses in Khumjung, Pertemba agreed to proceed and plans were drawn up and costed - £185,000.
Following several very generous donations earlier this year there remains a shortfall of £39,000 and consideration is currently being given how to take the fund raising campaign forward. Doug and Trish visited Khumjung last month and took the image below which shows the earthquake damage and the task ahead.