Heores of the Himalayas
The Sherpa: Mountaineering and Trekking Guides
We hear stories about mountaineers achieving incredible feats and overcoming the most challenging circumstances. However, none of this would be possible if it were not for the Sherpas, the Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet with superior mountaineering and trekking skills. These silent heroes serve as guides working behind the scenes to make the ascents of the Himalayan mountains possible. While climbing one of the lower Himalayas, Island Peak, Ron John Ostlund sat down with his climbing team leader and senior Sherpa to find out more about these world-class mountaineers.
TJ: I understand you are an expedition leader with 50 high-level Sherpas below you. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
SHERPA: Mingma Temba Sherpa is my full name. Mingma is “Tuesday” from the Sherpa language, the Tibetan language. I don’t know exactly the meaning for Temba but it’s my middle name. Sherpa is my family name for the caste of Sherpa. We came from Tibet six centuries ago. I work at Snowy Horizon as a clinbing team leader. I am a Sardar — the senior of other Sherpas. I lead a big team with many staff for the base camp. I started as a porter when I was only 13 years old — one day was like 90 rupees. We carried about 35 kilograms all day. After that, I was an assistant guide, an assistant cook, and then a cook. I became a guide 11 years ago. I have led many thousand-meter expeditions.
The complete article can be found in Issue #278 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.