The Sherpa Cheat Sheet
Sherpas are the heroes behind every successful summit attempt in the high Himalayas and they are the guardian angels of the Himalayan region. Merrily transporting immense loads up the mountains for foreign clients and tending to the client's every need. They are the Sherpas.
What is a Sherpa?
The word "Sherpa" originally meant "people from the East" and is pronounced "shar-wa" by the Sherpa themselves and denoted a group of people who migrated to Nepal from Eastern Tibet before the two regions became separate countries.
Ethnic Sherpas established themselves in the mountains of Solukhumbu Valley in Nepal with the oldest community at Pangboche village. The valley is now a national park and the village a starting point for scaling Sagarmatha (Mount Everest).
Difference between Porters and Sherpas?
A porter carries bags in any country however this was how the Sherpa rose to fame. The word "sherpa" has actually become a job description on trekking and climbing expeditions even thou the role is not just filled by ethnic Sherpas anymore.
Often described by foreign climbers as a self-sacrificing, robust and tenacious best friend the Sherpa carry loads, set up camp, cook food, manage other porters and ensure that loads are evenly distributed and are responsible for the trekking group's safety.
Sherpa are small but superhuman
Studies concluded that Sherpas have undergone genetic adaptations that include unique hemoglobin-binding enzymes, doubled nitric oxide production, hearts that can utilise glucose and lungs with an increased efficiency in low oxygen conditions through living in one of the world's highest regions for thousands of years. This gives them an advantage when at high altitudes with low oxygen.
If you have not met a Sherpa yet, give us a ring and we will assist get you on a plane!