Known as the “guardian angels” of the Himalayas, Sherpas are a group dedicated to traversing the challenging and unruly mountainous region of eastern Nepal. Sherpas make their living as porters in the tourism trade specifically escorting visitors up Mount Everest as well as in the day-to-day transport of goods from village to village.
Sherpas are skilled in their craft and are elite mountaineers, expert climbers and experienced summiters. They even have a special athletic gene that makes them so great at their craft!
This holiday season we wanted to take the time to appreciate the Sherpa community by highlighting some fun facts people may not know.
The Record for Most Summits belongs to the Sherpas
The Sherpas are superhuman climbers who scale the tallest peaks and roughest terrain to get to the top. It is no surprise that the record for most summits belongs to the Sherpas. To top it off, it was not the first, but the twenty-fourth time this Sherpa scaled the mountain.
New York City has the largest Sherpa community in the United States.
Although being a Sherpa is a specialized life, we are seeing many migrate West and settling in the United States, specifically New York City. Currently there are 16,000 Sherpas residing there!
“Sherpa” has become a general term
Sherpas are such experts in their area, that it has become common in the Himalayas to use the name “Sherpa” in reference to any guide or supporter hired.
Sherpas are Genetically Special
There are more than thirty genetic factors that make Sherpas well suited for high altitudes and they even carry the “super-athlete” gene. This is particularly helpful when they are serving as guides at these extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region.
One of the First Men to Climb Mount Everest was a Sherpa
His name was Tenzing Norgay and in 1953 he and another man were the first to climb Mount Everest and was named one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.