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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.

"Sherpa" 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.


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.