Mount Everest – there’s nowhere else like it. Standing at an impressive 8,849 metres above sea level, it’s the world’s tallest mountain making it one of the most challenging and enticing treks to tackle. But even if you consider yourself a seasoned trekker, you’ll never truly understand the terrain and intricacies of the Nepalese culture the way an expert local guide who spent most of their lives navigating the Himalayan Mountain Range can.
To the joint winner of our Leader of the Year Award 2022, Sukman Tamang, he’s come to view the Himalaya as his own backyard. Since 1998 when he began his career as a porter, Sukman has honed his skills, going from strength to strength. Working with us for over a decade, he has become an expert leader in his field. Taking his group on one of the world’s most exhilarating ascents, Sukman leads trekkers past ancient monasteries and ice seracs towards the foot of the Khumbu Glacier, so that they can swap tales with others who have made the daring climb to the Everest Base Camp. Join us to see what makes his adventures so memorable.
Originally from Thulopatal in eastern Nepal, Sukman moved to the bustling city of Kathmandu over two decades ago to begin his extensive guide training. Throughout the years, he’s completed courses in; Advanced Wilderness First Aid training; KEEP First Aid and Professional Eco-Leadership, while in his spare time, working closely with veteran Exodus leader, Valerie Parkinson, helping her with spearheading innovative community support projects in the Himalaya.
And his travellers can attest that his expansive knowledge and compassionate nature shine through in every one of his adventures. Exodus customer, Gary New, elaborates, “Sukman is an amazing guide and leader. For many of us, it was our first time trekking in Nepal and he put everyone at ease and looked after us from the get-go.” He continues, “In Tengbochehe, he woke us up at the crack of dawn to make sure we all got the first views of Everest. He also took our safety very seriously and would always take our oxygen levels every night and walk with the slowest people on the day to make sure they could trek at their own pace. He is a very kind and caring person, but also extremely warm and funny. It felt like he went the extra mile for all of us and I couldn’t recommend a better tour guide for trekking in Nepal. He represents the Exodus company very well, and when I return to Nepal for further trips in the future I would definitely ask to be on the trips where Sukman would be the leader.”
Another customer, Tom McDonald, was also keen to share his wonderful experience in the Himalaya with Sukman. “He was our guide, our translator, our waiter, our nurse, our Nepalese encyclopaedia and our reservoir of serotonin during our trek. He worked from sun-up to bedtime, answering our myriad of questions with a smile and without a hint of exhaustion… and surely it must have been exhausting.” Going above and beyond to ensure everyone had the most memorable time Tom mentioned the day Sukman took his group to a local teahouse, “as soon as we arrived, Sukman and his team jumped into action making sure the food orders were correct, settling the accounts, helping the teahouse staff, and even commandeering the kitchen when a teahouse cook went missing. It was a real treat to put our weary legs up each evening while this operation went on in the background.”
Exodus customer, Aryn Wadadli, went one step further to say, “His work ethic is unparalleled among others I have encountered in my life. The most important part of the experience though was that he did all of this with an incredible smile on his face and love in his heart. This guy is the real deal and deserves to be recognised as such.”
His colleagues and tour operators resoundingly agree with customers and are keen to highlight his outstanding leadership skills, organisation and warm demeanour. Valerie Parkinson comments, “Sukman has worked his way up from being a porter to being an excellent leader. He is very people-oriented and has a huge smile. I am proud of what he has achieved over the years. Coming from a village with little education to where he is now is amazing. He is a great ambassador for Nepal.”
Anyone who is craving that once-in-a-lifetime experience, and wants to delve deeper into the Nepalese culture with an expert local guide should consider joining Sukman on the Everest Base Camp Trek. With his extensive knowledge, safety training and local connections, you’ll retrace the footsteps of legendary hikers, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay as you take in panoramic views of Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Nuptse, while also having plenty of time to discover the unique Sherpa culture, visiting remote local villages, colourful teahouses in the Namche Bazaar and soaking in the ambience at the Thyangboche Monastery. For thrill-seekers, Sukman can take you even further to climb the summit of Kala Pattar (5,644 m) to get a closer look at the most iconic mountain on the planet.
If this has inspired you to beat your personal best and make the rewarding trek to the Everest Base Camp with Sukman, take a look at our trip here.