This is a photo of my friend, Pemba. I heard yesterday that Pemba had died sometime during the past week. Details are still sketchy and unconfirmed, but he was in the Mustang area of Nepal at the time.
I first met Pemba in 2009 while on a trek to Everest Base Camp South. He was one of our guides, working directly, I believe, for Mountain Tribes, the company that planned our trek (most of our sherpas were hired on the spot at the start of our trek).
Since then Pemba had continued guiding treks and had risen to the position of "sridar," leader of the sherpa crew. Pemba and I had occasionally corresponded on Facebook, and I like to think that we had become friends.
Last April Andi and I returned to Asia to go on a tour of Bhutan. On our the way back home we stayed in Kathmandu for a couple days and had the great fortune to attend the reception following Pemba's wedding. We were treated as honored guests, but I really think it was our honor to be part of this important day for Pemba and his wife.
I made this photo on the way into the reception area. Pemba had come outside to greet us. We had hoped to be in time for the ceremony, but the tikka (the mark on his forehead) told us that the ceremony was over. Still it was great to see Pemba again, and the reception was a lot of fun. For me it was an amazing day that I will never forget, just as I won't forget my friend, Pemba Nuri Sherpa.