The Sherpa People of Nepal
The name 'Sherpa' is often mistaken for a term meaning 'mountain porter' on an Everest trek, because we rarely see the word in any other context. The Sherpa people are in fact a distinct ethnic group of people living in the northern highlands of Nepal and the Khumbu, which we know as the Everest region.
Despite living in an isolated and difficult environment, they are world-renowned for their friendship and the warm welcomes they offer to visitors on the trail to Everest Base Camp and on similar treks in the Everest region. In fact, without the Sherpas' co-operation and assistance, the journey would hardly be possible for the thousands of travelers and climbers that trek in Nepal each year.
Everest trekking holidays rarely upon the local knowledge and experience of the Sherpas who act as guides and porters on the various routes, under the watchful eye of the head guide or Sirdar. The in depth knowledge and understanding of their native landscape and conditions, means that the Sherpa guides can ensure the safety of travelers on an Everest Base Camp Trek and other Everest treks, while the porters will help transport the gear and supplies that the trekkers bring with them.
The Sherpas are invaluable to the mountaineers who embark from Everest Base camp on summit bids to the world's highest mountain. While the climbers use Everest Base camp as a place to acclimatise, recuperate and make training runs up the mountain, the Sherpas will be busy servicing the camp and looking after the climbers. More importantly, they will consistently conduct essential repairs to the route for the treks up Everest. In a single day the Sherpas may make multiple trips up the formidable mountain to fix routes and the ladder bridges across the crevasses on the Khumbu Icefall, and to maintain the supplies on the higher stages of the climb.
The Sherpa capital is a town in the Everest region of Nepal called Namche Bazaar, a colorful town hanging on the side of the Khumbu valley at an altitude of 3,440 meters. This is a vital stop on many Everest trekking routes where people can rest and get used to the increased altitude. This is a market town where trekkers can find access to the internet as well as a range of goods sold by the Nepali traders.
When visitors stop in Namche Bazaar, they will enjoy the legendary Sherpa hospitality that they will also experience in the villages along the way, where trekkers can rest as they acclimatise. Treks frequently make use of the traditional Sherpa tea houses for rest stops, meals and overnight stays on most of the Everest trekking routes.
From the tea houses to the tents and the colorful streamers decorating the trails, you will be immersed in the Sherpa culture while on the Everest Base Camp Trek. You will take home fond memories of an under-appreciated race of people who are happy to share their beautiful country with travelers from all over world.
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