Synopsis

The Glass Ceiling tells the dramatic story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, as she risks her life and battles profound obstacles to become the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest.

Born in the shadow of the world’s highest mountain, Pasang sees the men in her village working as guides for foreigners who come to Nepal to conquer Mt Everest. Like most Sherpa women of her time, she lives in poverty and cannot read or write and is expected to stay home and raise a family. Pasang has much bigger dreams.

After running away from an arranged marriage and finding love with a Sherpa guide, Lhakpa Sonam, Pasang decides to become the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest. In a society ruled by men, as an ethnic and religious minority, her dream is audacious. With courage and unrelenting determination, she tries three times unsuccessfully, turned back by weather and climbing politics. On her third attempt she comes within 98 meters of the summit.

On her fourth attempt her mission becomes bigger than herself. Battling her own government, she is finally granted the permit to lead — for the first time ever — a Nepali-sponsored expedition. There is exaltation on April 22, 1993 when it is radioed that she has become the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest.

The following day word spreads that she has not returned from the summit. When her body is finally found — frozen on the South Col — it is brought down to throngs of mourners and carried through the streets to lie in state at the Kathmandu soccer stadium. Today, Nepali girls learn her story in school, and a new generation of Nepali women climbers looks to her as inspiration. This universal story of courage and determination in the face of insurmountable challenges inspires men and women alike to seek and conquer the mountains in their own lives.