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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