Dorji Sonam Gyalgen Sherpa
Date of Surgeries: 6/11/2014 and 7/2/2014
Traumatic Brain Injury
Update (8/2018): Dorji guided with the Cho Oyo and Everest Lightening Ascent team last Spring with Alpenglow Expeditions.
Photo Credit: Esteban Mena
My name is Dorji Sonam Gyalgen Sherpa and I was born in a remote area of Nepal at a place called Phortse, Solukhumbu on 24th of May 1981. I live in Phortse with my wife and we have one son and a daughter. As I was born in a Sherpa community with lots of people involved in the field of trekking and mountaineering, I was very inspired and motivated by them. So I also started working in this field since 2001 as a climbing Sherpa.
Being a trekker and mountaineer is a tough job and you have to go through various trainings to be capable of it. I also went through several trainings to make myself supportive and capable. I did my basic and advance climbing courses through Khumbu Climbing Center which is located at my own hometown and this climbing center is supported by the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. Later I also worked as an instructor for several years with this climbing center. Every year we had several volunteers and instructors from the United States and we were able to exchange our skills and knowledge which further helped us developed more skills. Beside this I also did WFR medical courses which is one of the most important courses that every guide must have.
So far, I’ve done lots of Himalayan expeditions in Nepal and Tibet and it all started from 2001. I did it continually until 2013 and in 2014 I had to quit because of my head injury. I had to take 2 years break, specifically from 8000 m peaks for my recovery but later again in 2017 and 2018, I was able to do it again. So far I’ve summited Everest 8848 m 18 times, Cho Oyu 8201 m 2 times, Manaslu 8163 m 4 times, Amadablam 6816 8 times, and many other 6000 m peaks in the Himalayas. Besides this, I’ve also trekked to most of the places in the Himalayan region of Nepal.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
After my head injury on 11 June 2014, I was immediately rescued by helicopter directly to Kathmandu. I was hospitalized and admitted to Grande International Hospital which is one of the best in the city. I had head surgery twice and was admitted there for a month. The surgery went very well and I started recovering slowly. I had to do regular check ups every week for almost 3 months after being discharged as well. Now I’m fully recovered but still I have to follow up with the doctor every year.
"My sincere thanks goes to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation for helping me. I could have not been able to afford the expenses for my head surgeries without them. This incident took place at my home so there was no reason for the insurance company to pay for it because usually we get insured only during the expedition period. Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has helped me get back my life and I so much to thank them that no words can be enough for it. They approached me in the form of God and gave me new life."
- Dorji Sonam Gyalgen Sherpa