Sherpa Life and Peak Information
Quick Overview of Sherpa Life
Short, stocky and with an ever present grin, Sherpas are superbly
adapted to their environment. Their legs are shorter than Westerners'
in comparison to their trunks,making steep trails less effort. After
centuries of living at high altitude, their bodies have developed
a greater capability of getting oxygen into their bloodstream and
to their muscles in thin air that leaves lowlanders gasping. This
physical attribute, combined with an amiable, tough character, have
made Sherpas popular with climbers ever since the first Mt. Everest
expedition in 1921.
Sherpas revered the great mountains of the region
as dwelling places of gods and goddesses (Chomolungma, the Tibetan
name for Everest is the residence of Miyo Lungsungama, the goddess
of humanity and prosperity.) Traditionally, they worked as traders
and farmers, while at least one son from each family would enter
a monastery. Along with these ancestral roles, leading climbs and
treks has become a mainstay of the Sherpa economy.
refers both to a tribal group and job capacity as porter, climber,
or guide. Sherpa means, Sher-East, Pa- People, People from the East.
Referring to their origins in Eastern Tibet. The migrations of this
Tibetan culture began sometime in the early 1400's. Today the Sherpa
population in the Khumbu is about 5,800 with a total of roughly
36,000 living in all of Nepal
Sherpa Ascent International is a recognized trekking and climbing
company founded by Sherpa people. The Sherpa Ascent International
ensures comfort and convenience, safety and security and affords
great and unique experiences. The approach to trekking provides
educational information and a rewarding experience with the mountain
peoples and life in rural Nepal.
SHERPAS ON EVEREST
The first notable and successful Everest climbing Sherpa was Tenzing
Norgay. In 1952, Tenzing accompanied Raymond Lambert to within 800
vertical feet of the still unclimbed Mt. Everest. A year later Tenzing
was asked to join the British team led by Cnl. John Hunt, which
successfully summitted Everest, following the same route as Tenzing
and Lambert. Tenzing and Sir Edmand Hillary were the first climbers
to reach the summit.
By mid 1980's, Sherpas had summited Everest
many more times than Westerners. Ang Rita Sherpa, the most well
known climbing Sherpa, had amassed ten summits of Everest without
oxygen and Apa Sherpa had summited 8 times without oxygen by 1997.
In 1993 Pasang Lhamu Sherpa became the first Sherpa woman to summit
Everest. 1998 Kaji Sherpa summited Everest in 20 hours. And in 1999
Ang Babu Sherpa spent 20 hours on the summit of Everest, an unheard
of and astounding period of time.