Though it’s considered one of the most dangerous treks in the world, for those who lead the daring expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest, it’s just a day like any other.
These elite mountaineers are known as the Sherpa, an indigenous community from the Khumbu-valley region surrounding the mountain. They adhere to the religious traditions of Tibetan Buddhism but have adopted a modern take on the religion over the past century.
Generations of these people have lived at altitude and have developed an ability to withstand the harsh mountain conditions. With a natural advantage to climb higher and withstand more, they are immeasurably valuable to those looking to trek to Everest base camp or even reach the summit of the mighty mountain.
History of Sherpas
The Sherpa people have been the backbone of mountain expeditions in Nepal for a long time. Climbing Mount Everest is a daunting task; foreigners have been hiring them as local mountain guides since the early 1900’s.
As influential westerners began to reach the summit with the help of Sherpas, they began to gain recognition. By the 1990’s, assisting these foreign climbers became a lucrative career and these local climbers were commercialised worldwide as ‘the guides’ of Everest.
Their Connection to the Mountain
Sherpas have a rich mountaineering heritage that they are tremendously proud of. Their whole culture is intertwined with the way of the mountain, and they have a deep-seeded spiritual bond with it. Prayer flags were placed on the slopes, monasteries were built at the base. Through their culture, Everest should be respected by all in its sacredness.
Chomolungma is Mount Everest’s most common Tibetan name, meaning ‘Goddess Mother of the World’. The mountain holds spiritual significance in Sherpa culture as they regard it as a place that brings them closer to enlightenment which is to be reached through compassion and selflessness (such as through into their profession of mountain guides).
The Risks They Take
When you’ve decided to take on the massive challenge of trekking Everest, many people focus solely on their journey, maintaining their safety and health during the trek. But many rarely stop to consider the guides who actually make it possible. Sherpa casualties can, on occasion, get passed off as routine and as just the way of mountaineering.
But these courageous guides are critical to people making it up and down again safely, and they do many things behind the scene in order to make this a priority. They carry loads of equipment up and down the mountain, set up campsites and prepare the routes. Though this is their job, and many live and breath mountaineering, it’s a risky job with dangerous conditions at every turn, and their fearlessness should always be admired.
These revered mountain men are the true heroes of Mount Everest. In every expedition, throughout every team, with every step higher up the mountain, there is a Sherpa at the foundation of it all. They are the natives who climb alongside all those adventurers who have been captivated by the allure of Everest. The Sherpas expert care should always be remembered as a crucial part in many, past and present, who journey to the highest peak in the world.
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