Mount Everest 2002 Expedition
Sherpas are an important part of the expeditions.
Their roots are East Tibet, from where they
emigrated to the Solu-Khumbu area on the Nepalese
side of the Everest Massif in the 16th century, and
they're ethnically closely related to the Tibetans.
On their search for work some Sherpa men went
seasonally to Darjeeling as early as the 19th
century and they were hired as "kulis" in
road construction and mountain expeditions (first
one in 1907).
word Sherpa changed over the course of times: was it
originally a description of an ethnic group, it is
now synonymous with the role- and status symbol of a
high performance porter with experience in climbing.
The latter expertise they often learn abroad,
sometimes in classes in Chamonix.
Tibetan Mountaineering Association has recently
started providing Sherpas for the North side of Everest
you meet a Sherpa or even observe them at work, you
learn to admire their skills and character. A
helpful and friendly behavior at any time of the day
is their nature. Expeditions accept them with great
respect as an independent team. Usually they are shy
and held back in their communication, but not
unapproachable. On the mountain one stops amazed, if
some of them fly by with loads more than 20kg,
conquering heights with an ease that we can only
dream of. Eleven Sherpas, among them five Tibetans,
are part of our expedition. This short summary shows
the incredible effort it takes to fix ropes from BC
to the summit, carry equipment for 15 climbers, and
to remove everything afterwards: approx. 5000m rope,
30 tents for three high camps, 40 sleeping mats, 30
cookers, food, 46 oxygen tanks and 20 oxygen masks.
Sherpas are well paid. According to their expertise
and performance each gets the following (US
Dollars): Base pay per day $10, one time fee for
equipment $1300-1500, plus bonus pays between the
camps: ABC to Camp 1 $20, Camp1 to Camp2 $60, Camp2
to Camp3 $80, plus a summit bonus of $2000 which all
Sherpas that summit share. In total, a Sherpa earns
in two months on Everest three times as much pay as
a well educated official in Nepal for the
Sherpas are a good unit, and according to Karti and
our own impressions they performed extremely well.
They fixed two thirds of all the ropes, partly
during extremely rough conditions with strong winds,
and additionally they laid the fixed ropes to the summit
and were this year's first Sherpa crew on the
EverestNews.com plans the Sherpas of Everest Series this
Summer where you will learn much more about these