Nawang Gombu was the youngest Sherpa climber on the 1953 Hillary expedition that first conquered Mount Everest. He went on to become the first man in the world to summit Mount Everest twice.
But Gombu's story is about much more than high-altitude mountaineering, as is evident when Kansas City journalist Bev Chapman debuts her new documentary Nawang Gombu: Heart of a Tiger on Sunday, July 28, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Gombu's life has been one of challenges and triumphs. At age 11 he and a friend fled the Buddhist monastery in Tibet where he had been placed by his parents and crossed the 19,000-foot pass to Nepal with little more than the clothes on his backs.
As much as he was fleeing the austerity of monasticism, Gombu was racing toward an adventurous life as a mountaineer. His uncle is Tenzing Norgay, who accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary in the conquest of the world's highest mountain.
Gombu's contributions to alpine climbing instruction launched a new, safer style of mountaineering in the Himalayas, and he has used his resources to promote Sherpa culture and secure funds for the families of Sherpas who died while climbing.
Above all, it's the story of how one man used his fame to change lives.
Co-producer Bev Chapman is a five-time Emmy Award-winning former reporter for KMBC-TV in Kansas City. After 30 years chasing headlines and deadlines, she now creates freelance videos and documentaries.
Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.