Henry Sigayret

SIGAYRET HENRY, Sherpasig

Henri Sigayret is a symbol of Khumbu. At the age of 40, he gave up his Western life to settle at an altitude of 4,000m where he founded a new family, financed electricity in his village and became involved in improving the living conditions of his new adopted country, Nepal.

He is also a renowned mountaineer, nicknamed Sherpasig, and notably made the first skiing of Annapurna (the second French after Herzog..).

His love for this country has led him to settle there for 40 years, during which he was fully involved: funding schools, raising walls. These facilities are designed to help the Sherpa people train to accompany high-mountain expeditions.

He is now 86 years old and is back in France. When we talk to him about going back to Nepal, we feel all the emotion that goes through him and the nostalgia of the last 40 years.

We met him, presented him with the project :

PANGBOCHE, KHUMBU, NEPAL

Nepal, name of a small Asian country, 148,000 km2 and 30,000,000 inhabitants (France 645,000 km2 and 67,000,000 inhabitants). This country is wedged between two colossi China-Tibet and India; both have more than 1,300,000,000 inhabitants. Both are moving towards the economic domination of the land.

It is located at the mid-latitude of 30 degrees North. It’s Cairo’s, the Great Deserts. Nepal is not a desert because it is subject to heavy summer rains, a monsoon phenomenon.

In this country the Khumbu is to be found. An area at the foot of Everest, the highest peak on Earth. Everest (western name). Sagarmatha (Nepalese name, sagar the seas, matha above, which dominates). Chomolungma (Tibetan name, cho, religion, chomo gods, lung wind, ma feminizes ‘god’ as a goddess), its Tibetan name is therefore Goddess of the Winds.

And in this Khumbu region, there is a village, Pangboché, 4000 meters above sea level. Let’s not forget that Nepal is on thirtieth degree north latitude!

The cutting of this country is amazing, from south to north its lands range from 100 to 250 meters above sea level (the jungle of the Tea of Rudyard Kipling) to 8848 meters at the top of the roof of the earth.

Nepal is a mythical country for many Westerners. It is undeniably beautiful. Its populations are generally smiling and pacifist. They are composed of Indo-Aryans (from the steppes of the Caucasus), and more than 100 immigrant peoples, the Tribals, of Nordic origin of Tibetan-Burmese sensibility. The main religions of this country are Hinduism, Buddhism, shamanism, but followers of these religions are often open to syncretism. To them are added some Muslims, some Catholics.

But a reality too often obscured by visitors, Nepal is a poor country, the poorest in Asia. It is poorer than its neighbor Bangladesh, one of the most miserable countries in the world. It is subject not to Western-style poverty, but to lethal misery.

In general the sahib, the tourist comes to perform long walks, trekking, the Himalayan to conquer summits; scientists, researchers find many thesis subjects. So, there is much neo-colonialism. They all come to take, to take. Very few bring. Fortunately, a few Westerners are not content with these forms of petty theft. Some are sensitive to the misery of men and make it their duty to help this country and its inhabitants.

Tourism has brought these populations its share of despicable, critical things that are part of this negative outlook. For example, hundreds of kilograms of rubbish pile up on the mountains at the foot of the mountains in the base camps. One solution, to take them down to lowlands. Yes, but what to do with it? Hence the idea of a team of engineers from Grenoble to install an incinerator in Pangboché, this village of Khumbu.

Pangboché, a very old Himalayan man married to a Sherpa woman from this village, having resided there for a long time and lived there for more than 20 years in Nepal, I am proud to endorse their project.”

— Henri Sigayret — 12/30/2020

Its original story inspired director Christophe Raylat, who shot a documentary, Sherpasig, 10 years ago.