It’s not all tax and spreadsheets for one Christchurch Partner who filled us in on her trip to Nepal this April and how she narrowly missed the devastating earthquake that killed over 9000 people. Last week was the first time climbers were allowed back on Everest since the earthquake. Hear what Shari Carter had to say about life on top of the world.
What is your current role with Deloitte and why did you decide to get into this industry?
No two days are the same when you’re advising SME businesses across a broad range of industries. They’re all facing different challenges, have different opportunities ahead of them and different goals for the future. It’s that variety that keeps me entertained every day.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role?
Every day I get to work with motivated, creative business owners - people who have seen an opportunity in the market and have grown a business around it. I also get to work alongside some of the most talented people coming out of university and starting their careers with Deloitte. These two groups of people have a level of energy that constantly motivates me.
You went to Nepal in April - what was the aim of your trip?
Our goal was to trek up the Khumbu valley to the base of Mt Everest. We trekked for 11 days plus one rest day to acclimatise to the altitude. The highest point I climbed to was Kala Patthar which is 5,643m (by comparison Mt Cook is 3,724m). We set off at 5am in minus 20 degrees. From the top we got an amazing view of Mt Everest as the first sun of the day washed over the slopes and we had a view down into the tent city of Base Camp.
What was it like to hear about the earthquake on your return?
My first reaction was to make sure the Sherpas and Porters we’d travelled with were safe. They had all taken such good care of us during our trip and welcomed us into their communities and their homes so we felt a real connection with them all. Our lead Sherpa is Nepali but lives in Mt Cook so it was a stressful few days before we heard via him that, although their village had been badly hit, they, and their families were all safe and well.
You’re based in Christchurch which like Nepal, is recovering from a major earthquake. How did this change your perspective when thinking about what you could do to help over there?
If you look at how long it’s taken for Christchurch to start to rebuild, imagine how long it’s going to take in one of the poorest countries in the world? The Khumbu valley is one of the wealthiest parts of Nepal, yet it was apparent that even there, the basic necessities of fresh water, warmth, sanitation, food, couldn’t be taken for granted. I can’t even begin to imagine how they will be coping now.
Our group has started a give a little page ‘Kiwi Friends of the Solu-Khumbu, Rebuild Appeal’ through which we’ve already raised $10,000+ - some of which has already been sent to support the rebuild of the hospital and school in Khari-Khola which is a village that we visited while we were over there.
What was the most memorable part of the trip?
Without a doubt the most memorable experience was visiting our Sherpa’s parents. We didn’t have time for the 2 day trek to their village so we hired a helicopter, landed it on their potato patch and visited for the afternoon. They welcomed us into their home, cooked for us, served us their homemade peach wine - which tasted more like schnapps - and showed us around their farm. Phrenjee’s parents are 70 years old and they farm the terraced property by hand, growing potatoes, corn, tamarillos, tea, bananas and of course peaches – they’re pretty much self-sufficient.
Any advice for any other intrepid travellers keen to tackle base camp?
You don’t need to be incredibly fit to trek to base camp. The secret to making it is just taking your time and having a rest day or two to help with the acclimatisation process. And taking your time is the best way to take in the magnificent scenery. The mountains are like the Southern Alps on steroids and you’re surrounded by them.