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  Mt. Everest 2004: George Dijmarescu and Lakpa Sherpa

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Self portrait, yeah was cold up there ©George Dijmarescu

Gheorghe Dijmarescu and Lakpa Sherpa Pursue Top of the World Double Header

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of K2, Everest veterans Gheorghe Dijmarescu and his wife, Lakpa Sherpa, hope to become the first couple to reach the summits of Everest and K2 in the same season. With eight successful summits of Mt. Everest already under their climbing harnesses, this husband and wife team believe they are ready to take on mountaineering’s greatest unclimbed link-up.

“I promised myself that if I climbed Everest three times, then I’m qualified to try K2,” says Dijmarescu, who has successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest each of the last five years. After two years working out the details, Dijmarescu says he is more than ready.

Gheorghe Dijmarescu swam the Danube River, jumped from a moving train and made his way alone through the Alps to escape the brutality of communist Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu. Once the defector reached America, Dijmarescu attempted a mid-winter climb of Mount Washington, drawn by the New Hampshire peak’s reputation for ferocious weather. That was his first taste of mountaineering. Four years later – in 1999 – he reached the summit of Mt. Everest. He has summited the mountain every year since then, once without supplemental oxygen. He has also reached the summit of Aconcagua, in Argentina, the highest mountain in the Americas, and Denali, AKA Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. To date, Dijmarescu has funded his mountaineering career with money earned in the home improvement business he runs and operates with his brother.

Lakpa Sherpa grew up with her nine siblings in Makalu, Nepal, an impoverished village at the foot of the fifth tallest mountain in world with no roads, school, or medical facility. A letter that Sherpa wrote with the help of friends convinced the daughter of the Prime Minister of Nepal to train and organize the first all-Sherpani Everest expedition. In 2000, as leader of the all-female Sherpa expedition, she became the first Nepali woman to climb Mount Everest and survive. She was the only member of the team to reach the summit. Sherpa, who left Makalu on foot, returned to her village in a helicopter filled with money she had earned on her climb, much of which she donated to the people of Makalu. At a reception with the King of Nepal, Sherpa was awarded the medal of the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu. She is the only woman to have received that honor. Sherpa met Gheorghe Dijmarescu at a party commemorating her ascent in Kathmandu. A year later they married and she joined him in Hartford. Last May Sherpa and Dijmarescu returned to Mt. Everest together. Lakpa reached the summit for the third time – more times than any other woman. Her brother, two cousins and her sister, who, at 15-years-old, became the youngest person ever to climb the mountain, joined her on last year’s climb. With relatives now working on high altitude climbs in Nepal, Tibet and Pakistan, Sherpa and Dijmarescu have become the heart of one of the world’s great families of high-altitude mountaineers. Lakpa’s dream is that, through her mountaineering accomplishments, she can raise the money needed to build a school and medical clinic in Makalu so that her people can overcome the illiteracy and poor medical care that have been her family’s greatest challenges in life.

At the end of March, Sherpa and Dijmarescu will depart their home in Connecticut en route to Nepal and then Tibet, where they will make their annual “vacation” climb of Mt. Everest. This year they will climb that mountain with the Connecticut Everest Expedition 2004, a team Dijmarescu has helped to conceive and organize. After completing their climb of Everest in late May, Sherpa and Dijmarescu will rest and recover in Kathmandu. By mid-June they will be on their way to Pakistan, where they hope to climb the Abruzzi Spur on K2 by mid-August.

Like other teams attempting to achieve this first-ever Himalayan double-header this year, Sherpa and Dijmarescu hope that the conditioning they achieve on Mt. Everest will give them a head start on their climb of K2 and an advantage up high. They plan to start climbing soon after their arrival in basecamp.

“I would trade 5 Everest summits for one K2,” Says Dijmarescu. “to me, it’s much more valuable.”

To offer support or assistance for Gheorghe and Lakpa’s historic climb, please contact us at

Lakpa Sherpa is now the only woman to have climbed Mt. Everest three times. In 2004 she will attempt Everest again trying for her 4th summit. She will go with her husband George Dijmarescu who will go for his 6th Summit of Mt Everest in 6 years!

George and Lakpa are sponsored for 2004 in part by Sabia & Hartley, LLC of Hartford CT

Much more coming soon...

Articles One Spring 2004: Climbing the slopes of Mt. Everest is sometimes as dangerous if not more dangerous than going for the summit: By George Dijmarescu

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