Sukra Mohra Wins Mark’s $100 Climbing Challenge!
Mountain Madness President Mark Gunlogson took a handful of our regular Nepal trekking staff out for their first rock climbing experience. Though it may be hard to believe, none of our porters, assistants, or kitchen staff had ever worn a climbing harness or had the chance to climb on a rope before. Only summit expedition member Temba was an experienced climber – and today he would be the belayer.
Sukra Mohra, Deana Zabaldo, and Dawa Sherpa (l to r) talk about what the $100 prize means to the Mohra family. Mark Gunlogson photo
With one easy climb (~ 5.5) and a second more difficult one (~ 5.10), the staff got to experience flashing a climb (success on the first attempt) as well as the frustration inherent in a crux move. Mark threw out a challenge to the whole team: if anyone could beat the crux and reach the top, they would win $100!
Mark and Sukra showing off some climbing muscle. Mark Gunlogson photo
Although 5.10 was too hard for anyone to overcome in the way we typically think of climbing, kitchen staff member Sukra Mohra was determined to bring some extra money home to his family. He spidered up the easier part of the wall – where many others had trouble – and then popped this dynamic move to push past the crux point and reach the top. Sure, he had a little help from his belay partner, but he far out-climbed the rest of the first-timers, and he looked graceful on the rock. Mark was inspired to award him grand prize for the day!
Sukra reaches for the peak. Mark Gunlogson video
Sukra is 29, and has a two week old baby at home, plus a three year old daughter and his wife, mother, and sister. He’s worked in trekking for eight years and comes from what was once considered an untouchable caste (though that stigma has been slowly changing in the last 10 years). He lost his home in the earthquake, and the family of six is still living in a small, temporary bamboo shelter. Sukra was shining with pride both to have climbed so well and to be taking home an extra chunk of cash to his family! As a farmer who earns under $1500 per year, the $100 prize is a major bonus to his family this season – congratulations Sukra!!
Sukra with his mother, sister, wife, three year old daughter, and new baby born in November. Photo courtesy of Sukra Mohra
~MM Trip Leader Deana Zabaldo