At age 9, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa told her teacher she wanted to climb Mount Everest. It may have seemed improbable then, but she’s long smashed notions of what’s probable. The first woman from Nepal’s Rolwaling Valley (home to 70 notable male climbers) certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, Dawa is one of only about 100 women among IFMGA’s nearly 7,000 guides. “Who I am now is just because I climb,” Dawa says modestly, as images of peaks she has summited flash on screen — K2, Yala Peak, Lobuche, Chekigo, Kanchenjunga, Cho-Oyu, Ama Dablam — and, of course, Everest.
- Anna Callaghan