The Mountains and the Sherpas

The Sherpas have a long history of value to early explorers to the Himalayan region.
They served as porters and guides at the high altitudes of the peaks and the mountain passages of the area. Today, the term, sherpa, is used to describe anyone that is hired for mountaineering expeditions to the Himalayas.

In Nepal, however, the Sherpas, prefer to make the distinction between themselves and simple porters as they are more like guides to the mountaineers traveling there. Real Sherpas request a higher pay and have a greater respect from their community.

Sherpas are known for their climbing ability as well as their hardiness, expertise and experience thriving at high altitudes. Some believe they have a genetic predisposition toward a greater lung capacity at high altitudes. Another reason why they make good porters is that they have few dietary restrictions and will eat whatever is fed to them while on expedition. The most famous Sherpa is Tenzing Norgay who climbed Mount Everest with Edmund Hillary on his inaugural run in 1953.

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