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52 Tuesdays: Lhakpa Sherpa

“The most rewarding thing I do is Hike for Help. I get to go to Nepal, see the family and give back to the community,” says Golden restauranteur Lhakpa Sherpa. “We do small scale projects on a local level, but it has a high impact.”

Lhakpa was born in the Solo-Khumbu region in Nepal, and in 1996, he and his family came to the United States after being sponsored by Golden couple Elliot Brown and Wanda Blackburn. He attended college and attained U.S. Citizenship, and never felt the need to leave Golden. “This was like a second home to me, so I stayed here, says Lhakpa. “

Photo: Lhakpa Sherpa (in red) and the crew at Sherpa House Restaurant

Lhakpa started a landscaping business. Landscaping was a skill he developed growing up on a farm in Nepal. “I already knew how to do the ground work, the stone work, making use of the ground and rocks. At the time I was going to school, and it was pretty hard to pay my bills,” he says. Lhakpa had realized working for restaurants was not going to pay well enough so he turned to landscaping. In 2005, he started Sherpa Landscaping, to employ family and friends who came to him looking for work. After realizing he had to send everyone away during the winter months, he thought it wise to open a restaurant so he could employ everyone year-around. “I had worked in the restaurant business before, and knew a lot about the cooking and organization, “he says. “We would do a very well if we stayed together throughout the year.” Many of his employees spend the summer months working landscaping, then the cooler months at the restaurant. “A lot of the guys are still here from the (2005) beginning. Sherpa guys like to work,” he adds. “We enjoy working together, we laugh a lot and we play a lot. It just drives me. I feel motivated when we work together and they have so much motivation towards the work.”

In addition to running Sherpa Landscaping and Sherpa House Restaurant, Lhakpa has added a cultural center to the property and started Sherpa Brewery. But the thing Lhakpa is most proud of is a non-profit that aids the Sherpa community in Nepal through funding via ecotourism called Hike for Help. He says, “A lot of times people are wanting to do big projects with a big budget. They don’t pay attention to the smaller projects that are actually critical for the whole country.” Once a year, Lhakpa takes tourists to Nepal for two weeks to work on building trails, public restrooms, schools, and youth hostels. He says, “We do small scale projects on a local level, but it has a high impact.”


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