Trekking the highest peak, the Mt. Everest (8,848 m), is the ultimate calling for all the mountain trekkers around the world. But a few attempts this dare devil act in their life time. But interestingly, when we talk about Mt. Everest trekking the one name that stands out is the Sherpa – the guide of the Mt. Everest trekking. This ethnic people from the eastern part of Nepal have earned their name for being the elite and expert in Everest trekking and other Local Mountains trekking. So what make them so apt for mountaineering and trekking? Let’s find out:
Geography: The Sherpas live in the most mountainous eastern region of Nepal. Most of them live in the Solu-Khumbu district of the Sagarmatha zone of Nepal. The Sherpa migrated from Tibet around 600 years ago as concluded by Gautam (1994) findings. Alternatively, Oppitz, Micheal (1968) in his findings states that Sherpa migrated from Kham, Tibet to Nepal around 300-400 years ago.
The oral Sherpa history or the myth states that their Guru Ringpoche mentioned about Solukhumbu in his texts to safeguard the followers in the time of unrest in Tibet. During Mahayana Buddhism unrest in Tibet, some clans used the text to migrate to Solukhubu of Nepal. (Source: peakfreask.com)
This mountainous region has made them physically fit for trekking, as it is their home ground.
Religion: Over 90% of Sherpa are Buddhist. They follow Nyingmapa Buddhism and believe in reincarnation. Their rituals resemble the Tibetan rituals and are very much alike. The main current of the Buddhism is the “Non-violence and tolerance”. Perhaps this current is working its way in Sherpa by giving them patience and ability to tolerate the pain of high altitude, when trekking the Everest.
Genetic Evaluation: Centuries of living in high altitude mountainous region have also caused Sherpa to evolve & adapt to the surroundings. As stated in Wikipedia ”Sherpas are renowned in the international climbing and mountaineering community for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at high altitudes. It has been speculated that a portion of the Sherpas’ climbing ability is the result of genetic adaptation to living in high altitudes. Some of these adaptations include unique hemoglobin-binding enzymes and doubled nitric oxide production.”
Language: Since the Sherpas were migrated from Tibet so their language. Their language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman group of language. (Source: Wikipedia) But the language has evolved as the Sherpas, so the language sounds alien for the Tibetans now.
In modern times, Sherpas involved in trekking can talk many languages of the tourists coming for trekking the Mt. Everest.
The first of Sherpas to climb the Mt Everest: The first and foremost Sherpa to leave his name in the history of mountain trekking was Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. He accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953 in the first Mt Everest trekking adventure. Recently The Telegraph, the UK in an article mentioned that the Nepalese government is naming two of the unnamed peaks after Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary to boost tourism in the country.