All posts tagged: Everest

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 Allure of Everest

The Nepalese government recently granted a climbing permit for a Japanese climber to climb Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. In the past few months, climbing was put on hold in Nepal, at least for the bigger 8,000 m+ peaks. After the plunge of tourism due to the May earthquake, this re-opening of the mountain may mean an increase in tourists for the mountain’s fall climbing season – which is good for the Nepali economy. But recently, Everest has become more a famous name than actual, tangible feat to be accomplished, let alone an actual travel destination. And the media are eating it up: Take the newly released film titled “Everest,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, and Kiera Knightley. So far, it’s made $101.7 million at the box office, en route to even more after this weekend. The name “Everest” has become codified as some holy grail of climbing – mainly because it is. It is literally the tallest thing in the sky – even the Everest movie’s poster has the line: “ “Human beings …