Few great accomplishments are achieved single handedly, climbing Mount Everest is no different. Sherpas have helped westerners climb Everest since the first ascent of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa back in 1953, and a lot of them have taken this risk at the ultimate cost one could pay, their lives.
noun ˈsher-pə, ˈshər-
: a member of a people who live in the Himalayas and who are often hired to help guide mountain climbers and carry their equipment
Located in the mountainous regions of Nepal, Sherpas are a somewhat nomadic group of people who have settled in the mountainous region of Nepal. Regarded as elite mountaineers and experts, they’ve played an immeasurable role in the tourism community in Nepal and generate a large portion of Nepal’s GDP. To this date, the most famous Sherpa of all time is Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa that aided Sir Edmund Hillary in being the first official people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Now, of the 4,000 people that have reached the summit of Everest, a large portion of the list comprises of Sherpas. Unproportionately, of the 250 people that have lost their lives on Everest, Sherpas account for 80 of them (32%). With such a high rate of mortality on climbs, the risk that these sherpas’ take net them anywhere from $75 – $125 per climb. This number is even more astonishing when you realize that the average Nepal household brings in around $700 per year. Seemingly, the risk is worth the reward.