Not a single mountaineering expedition is undertaken without the guidance of Sherpas, says Umesh Zirpe, senior mountaineer and expedition leader, Giripremi.
The mountains are the birthplace of the people from the Sherpa community. The help mountaineers by assisting them as route opener Sherpas, climber Sherpas, basecamp Sherpas and more…
Visiting the city for the mountaineering organisation’s International Mountain Day Festival, six Sherpas will take part in a Mountain Run that will take place at ARAI Hill. Phurba Dorchi Sherpa, Tenzing Sherpa, Dorchi Sherpa, Babu Sherpa and Dikki Sherpa arrived in Pune recently.
As Sherpas, all of them have climbed at least one of the eight-thousander mountains while Dorchi Sherpa has scaled the Everest seven times.
Dikki Sherpa is the only woman Sherpa visiting the city. She says that she has seen a change and more Sherpa women are training themselves to be professional mountaineers.
“It is very common to see mostly men as the climbers while the women would be handling a business. But, it is very necessary to have women Sherpas now. Most of the time, a group of women climbers are comfortable having a woman Sherpa guiding them. There is a growing demand for this.”
Speaking of the Sherpa community’s natural tendency to be good mountaineers, Zirpe adds, “Their stamina and lung capacity is much better than ours since they belong to the mountains. We have to train intensively before we scale a mountain, but they don’t necessarily have to. When we climb, we use at least four to five oxygen tanks as oxygen level is very low once we scale up. But, the Sherpa people accompanying us, use a maximum of two tanks only.”
Most of these Sherpas scaled their first mountain in their teens. “I scaled Kamet, which is the second-highest mountain in the Garhwal region in Uttarakhand when I was 15 years old,” says Mingma Sherpa, now 32 years. Whereas, Dorchi Sherpa scaled first when he was 16 years old.
Many from the Sherpa community are based in the capital city of Nepal and Darjeeling where the tourism industry thrives on mountaineering. As mountaineering gains more mainstream prominence, it is also providing the Sherpas more opportunity. “There are more young Sherpas who are interested in becoming mountaineers.
The Nepal Mountaineering Association provides professional training to youngsters. Now, there is a system in place. We have more technical knowledge and better devices,” explains Babu Sherpa.
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