How is MSU AIIS connected to the first Indigenous Sherpa woman to complete the Great Himalaya Trail? AIIS graduate assistant, Sophie Huss, traveled to Nepal last month to join Mingmar Dolma Sherpa for 12 days of her historic 140-day trek of the Great Himalaya Trail (non-technical route)! Together, they hiked to Chomolungma (so-called “Everest”) Base Camp as part of the Women Leaders on the Trail Campaign to elevate women guides and increase opportunities for Sherpa and Nepali women guides in Nepal.

When asked about the experience, Sophie shared: “I left for Base Camp with a stranger and returned with a dear friend. This opportunity truly changed my worldview and life for the better. I am very thankful I had the opportunity to support and join Mingmar for her historic journey. Mingmar was so open about her Sherpa culture and truly immersed me in it, which was such a special experience and had such a lasting impact on me. It was amazing to experience the connections between the Sherpa communities of the Himalaya and the Anishinaabe communities I engage with in my work back home. Mingmar is doing incredible things for women guides in Nepal. She is changing what it means to recreate outdoors in a way that centers Indigenous women and collective care, and I will carry those lessons with me as an outdoor recreator moving forward. I am honored I was able to be part of her journey and I am so excited to see where all of her work goes!”

Mingmar Dolma still has over 90 days left to complete the trail. We wish her a safe and successful journey!

Sophie Huss (left) and Mingmar Dolma Sherpa (right) at Chomolungma (so-called “Everest”) Base Camp.

Sophie Huss (she/her) is a third-year PhD student of settler descent in the Geocognition Research Lab in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Michigan State University. Her current dissertation work involves building capacity for ethical engagement with and between diverse stakeholders and rightsholders in resource extractive spaces using community-empowering approaches. She received her Bachelor of Science in Geology with a minor in anthropology from the University of Toledo in 2020. Sophie currently serves as a Community Science Fellow for the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange, and the Communications Coordinator for MSU’s Indigenous Graduate Student Collective. She also enjoys volunteering with the Ziibiwing Center and Buckeye Trail Association. As a professional and whole person, Sophie always tries to center values of loving-kindness, reciprocity, individual and collective well-being, and transparency in all she does.