Climber's goal a fundraiser
 for Sherpas

Cayman bartender Angel Robledo wants partygoers to drink for a different reason on Monday – to support the families of the Sherpas who lost their lives in the Mount Everest avalanche last month. 

The avid climber is hosting a cocktail auction at Karma to raise money for the families of the 16 Nepalese Sherpas who were killed by falling ice in the worst reported accident on the world’s highest peak. 

Robledo says supporting climbers on Mount Everest is one of the highest paying jobs for Sherpas in Nepal, and during the climbing season they earn enough to support their families for a whole year, around $5,000. After the recent deaths, the government provided the victims’ families with just $400, she says.  

“Himalayan people are the most fascinating people in the world. I admire their simplicity and happiness, living in villages with no paved road, running water or electricity,” she says. “I had a chance to spend time in a tent with nomads in Tibet and sleep and eat in local villages. I finished my trip financially broke but I never felt so rich in my life.” 

Robledo also wants to raise money to complete her next challenge – climbing Alaska’s Mount McKinley, locally know as Denali, just over 20,000 feet. The climb will add to her list of conquests that already includes Mount Everest base camp, and climbs through New Zealand, Peru, China, Tibet and Nepal.  

The upcoming 28-day Denali climb could mean she will face temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and winds of up to 100 mph.  

“We are carrying our backpacks plus a sled of about 90 pounds [each] with food supply, tents, stove, gas, climbing equipment and clothing,” she says. 

“Most of the people who climb Denali go the normal route and take between two and three weeks to climb it. We are planning to stay enough time to acclimatize, climb and rest in between.”  

She says becoming a good climber means not only having the technical skills and physical endurance, but also a clear and strong mind. 

“There is no window for mistakes on high mountains; a bad decision can cost your life. Climbing is about trusting your partner, making decisions, taking risks … and pushing your limits. Just like everyday life, but instead of taking your energy, the mountain charges it.”  

The auction will feature 12 local bartenders who will invent a cocktail for bidding. The cost of the auctioned cocktails, as well as $1 from each cocktail purchased on the night, will be donated to the Sherpas through the American Alpine Club. The event kicks off at 8 p.m. Sponsored by Jacques Scott and Red Bull, the auction will also feature flair performances, documentary screenings, music by DJ Alexi and raffle prizes. For more information visit www.mountainetwork.com. 

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Angel Robledo at the Bluff in Cayman Brac.

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Climbers make their way to the summit of Mount Everest, in the Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalayas in May 2013, the area where last month an avalanche swept down, killing 16 Nepalese Sherpas. – PHOTO: AP/Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian Ballinger
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