I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to update you on Lhakpa Nuru’s body recovery and funeral.
As you all know, Lhakpa’s body was found in the icefall on Thursday (10th Sept).
On Friday (11th Sept) 4 Sherpas, under Naga’s leadership went up to retrieve the body. On the team were Naga Dorje, Pemba Tenzing, Pemba Tshering and Sonam (Samden) Bhote who were all on the Eco Everest team this year.
Naga told me that the body was found in that deep gully just above where the boot was found on the last day. Some 200 meters below where they were standing when the avalanche struck. It was the same gully that Ang Mingma, Phurba (bulldozer) and myself had looked in.
(Saturday 12th Sept) The body was only partially visible and the Team dug him out of the snow. His body was in surprisingly good condition due to the cold temperature. They wrapped him up and carried him out on an icefall ladder. Naga and the team carried the body until 11 pm that night when they reached Lobuche
(Sunday 13th Sept) The next day they continued to carry the body down and were met by the Lhakpa’s Brother and other male relatives who took over and brought the body down to Pangboche. Needless to say, Naga and the boys were exhausted and pretty shaken up by it. But we are all very happy that we could bring the body back to the family, something we so desperately wanted to do back in May. It was already late when the body arrived in Pangboche and the it was laid on the top of the ridge, inside a tent, at the cremations site. All night 2 Lamas prayed at the site as all the male members stayed up at the cremation site to carry out the funeral rituals and prepared the funeral pyre.
From Kathmandu, I went up with Phurba Yangji (Lhakpa’s wife). We reached Pangboche on Sunday together with the Police constable from Khumjung. Lhakpas brother, cousins and myself identified him and finally the police produced his death certificate which has been pending for so long! Lhakpa’s relatives amd I advised Phurba Yangji not to see the body as it would not be a nice way to remember her husband. She agreed.
Finally, on Monday morning (14st Sept), Lama Geshe, the old priest that some of us met in Pangboche, carried out the last rites and at around 9 am the cremation took place. In Sherpa culture, monday is considered a good day to start a new journey!
I did not personally stay for the cremation as it is a very personal affair for the family. Phurba Yangji is still in the Khumbu so I am very happy that finally the family can have closure and the Lhakpa has had a proper farewell.
Thank you all for your support, during the difficult event and after.