All posts tagged: Climbing

The Sherpa Problem

With growing attention to Nepal and the Himalaya region, the Sherpa community comes into focus. When you think of a sherpa, what comes to mind? You might picture him on a snowy mountainside, wrapped in a down jacket, braving the cold winds of the Himalaya, complete with a dizzying display of ropes and metal tools slung from his harness. All of these images aren’t inaccurate. Sherpas, the ethnic group from the mountainous Khumbu (Everest) region of Nepal, have become known to Western audiences for their skill in the mountains. The region has lent many people the opportunity to work in the Himalaya, such as with climbing outfitters. Most of them take jobs as guides, porters, cooks, and others. So it’s not surprising that the term “sherpa” has become synonymous with “mountain guide.” While the depictions of Sherpas in media aren’t untrue, often a tourist-heavy western narrative dominates the voices of the Sherpa themselves, leaving a huge community of Himalaya  – which is essential to climbing in the region – voiceless and misrepresented. I recently talked …

The New River Gorge

The New River Gorge in West Virginia is home to some of the best climbing on the east coast. The other place being Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Now’s the time when the leaves are turning, and climbing conditions are just right. Some climbers call this time of year “gorge season.” I recently spent a few days climbing in the area. Prior to this I’d only climbed outdoors once – and it was only on a route or two in Great Falls. I didn’t really consider it a true climbing trip. For me, this was the first time to really experience the differences between plastic holds at the gym and real, unforgiving rock. And the real difference is not in the holds – in which it’s too easy to draw the distinction. Some jugs remind me of the round plastic pieces I throw for at the wall. Instead, the biggest difference I found was creativity. Climbing outdoor routes (long routes, at that) allows you to be very creative – both in style and technique. Because indoors, …