Local Hero: Pemba Sherpa 

A disastrous earthquake strikes Nepal in 2015 and Boulder restaurateur, philanthropist, and businessman Pemba Sherpa, 50, springs into action, helping to restore a hydropower station, erect a suspension bridge, and rebuild homes.  

Today, Pemba’s Sherpa Chai (sherpachai.com) company and Sherpa’s Adventure restaurant employ 50 people from numerous countries, donate food to the North Boulder homeless shelter, support the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, and resettle newly arrived Nepalis. 

Born into poverty in the Himalayas, Pemba came to the U.S. in 1991. He soon started working as a restaurant dishwasher five days a week and as a stable hand shoveling horse manure the other two days—and he attended Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver. Later, he established his own climbing and trekking company, Sherpa Ascent International, and has been guiding clients from around the world for the past 20 years. 

“I see my life as a journey of experiences both good and bad, with lessons learned along the way,” he says in his book written with James McVey called Bridging Worlds (Sherpa Publications, 2019). 

“I believe the experiences of my childhood taught me survival skills that have served me well in life, instilling the values of hard work, resourcefulness, perseverance, and patience. I know the meaning of struggle and hardship,” Pemba says.

His success in business allows him to continue assisting the Khumbu region on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. A fixed-wing pilot, he wants to build a hospital in Nepal specializing in telemedicine, and qualify for his helicopter pilot’s license to conduct rescue work in the high-altitude world he calls home. 

“More people who are in a position to help like I am should lend their time, ideas, and financial support to improve the lives of others in need,” Pemba says. We say follow his lead.

Related Stories

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

YMCA of the Rockies, Colorado Perfect Winter

At Two Beloved Locations—Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch— YMCA of the Rockies Offers Up Top-notch Programming for the 2022–23 Winter Season That...

Winter, Summer, and Everything in Between

The Adventures are Year-Round at RMOC  Let the seasons determine your stoke with the help of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center. A prime location in Buena...

How to Make Your Outdoor Cabin More Weather Resistant

As residents throughout the Rocky Mountain region continue to explore barndominium cost vs house prices to help find an affordable place to live, the...

Eldora is the Perfect Escape

If you’re seeking that private hill feeling with up-front parking, zero lift lines, and wide-open slopes, Eldora is your winter weekend destination. And with...