Sharpas In Nepal, Help Climbers Reach New Heights


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.

Mount Everest Claims Lives Of Local Sherpas


Last Friday, Mount Everest experience quite possibly the single worst disaster in it’s history. Currently, the death toll resides at 13, with all of the deaths known to be Sherpas whom were trekking ahead of a climing group in order to clear routes and fix ropes for their patrons. The disaster is currently the largest loss of life in a single event on Everest with 3 people still presumed missing.

The accident brings even more attention to this season’s Everest climbing season with the recent environmental & safety mandates that have been enacted by the government of Nepal in order to clean up the mountain and prevent loss of life on the mountain. With the new climbing season just beginning, this avalanche has forced even the most seasoned climbers to take a second look at their plans to attempt an ascent on the mountain, and has echoed calls for the mountain to even be shut down for a period of time, to allow precautions and changes to take affect.

This, being a fresh climbing season and the avalanche taking such a large loss of life will no doubt have added consequences to the tourism industry in Nepal, a region known for being home to eight of the world’s fourteen highest peaks.

As of the posting of this article, as many as 100 climbers / sherpas were still caught atop of the mountain and had no real way of getting back until a new route could be cleared for them.

The Link Between Rock Climbing & Beards


I’ve been Rock Climbing now for a few years, and once I started, I noticed an incredible transformation with my body a few months after climbing. I had grown a beard. Now this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I’d never been able to grow a beard before .. Rock Climbing was the ONLY thing I had done differently. As a journalist, I had to get the facts, what I discovered, was phenomenal.

Rock Climbing Causes Beard Growth


Now, I’m no scientist, but, scientific testing has empirically established that strenuous rock climbing enhances beard follicle growth in 9 out of 10 subjects. The hair follicles are stimulated by the increase in the Arrector Pili Muscle of the follicle, caused by the rapid expansion of the bulge due to increased testosterone, caused by Rock Climbing. This phenomena is known in the medical world as “Peaking,” due to it’s effect on the rock climbing community and for the fact that most of the beards actually increase the Rock Climber’s appearance to their spouse.

With this new information, I was still curious, because so many Rock Climbers I knew DIDN’T have beards, Science calls these outliers “10 Per Centers” as they do in fact possess the increased growth but choose to shave or shrug their Rock Climbing genes to seem more normal or less awesome.

Notable “10 Per Centers”


Don’t be fooled. This man DOES NOT have a beard! He still has time though, and we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Scientists arn’t clear as to why these “10 Per Centers” choose to go without the existence of their awesome beards and we may never know, but we think that it’s to hide their powers, like how Superman poses as Clark Kent during the day. Justin, clearly just needs to climb more.




Further Evidence

We used our own gym as a microcosm of the world and tested out this theory. Below is the photo evidence.

So what have we learned? Well, as I said, I’m not a scientist, BUT I can definitely say that Rock Climbing causes beard growth. How? Because science. That’s all the evidence for now, climb on everyone, and Happy April Fools Day

Mount Everest Has A Very Serious Trash Problem

Photo by Geoff Stearns

Anyone who’s traveled the world and even some parts of the United States knows that trash is a very serious problem in some parts of the world. Climbers like to see the world and climb new heights & peaks, however, it seems now that in order to climb the highest peak, you’ll need to lug back around 18 pounds of trash with you.

Climbers wishing to climb Mount Everest are now subject to a Nepalese law that will require all who wish to scale Everest to carry back eight kilos of garbage back with them. The law takes effect in April.

“The government has decided in order to clean up Mount Everest, each member of an expedition must bring back at least eight kilos of garbage, apart from their own trash.”

As extreme as they may seem, the Nepalese tourism ministry feels the law will ensure that little to no new trash will be left on Everest as the number (17.6 pounds) corresponds with the amount of trash the average climber discards on the mountain.

The World’s Highest Garbage Dump

Long known as the ultimate destination for those looking to challenge their bodies and their minds to one of the heights peak on earth, Everest has had an increasing amount of foot-traffic over the past 60 years and has had an estimated 50 tons of waste left on the mountain.

Although the law is still admittedly a little vague, it’s overall reaction from local tour guides and the climbing community is so-far a positive one. Many companies in Nepal have already offered “eco-expeditions” with the goal of bringing back with them, all human waste, old garbage, air canisters and anything else they find while ascending.


Some have called for Everest to be shut down for a few years, in order to allow the mountain to recover organically and to relieve it of the foot traffic that it receives annually. The fact of the matter is that Everest is a money maker for the Nepalese government, raking in around $3.3 million a year in climbing fees alone. Tourism is a driving force in the Nepal economy, with the amount of work local sherpas receive to scale the mountain as guides, to the multi-national companies that have set-up shop to accommodate visiting guests of Nepal. Closing the mountain is just not an option.

For now, this seems like a simple solution to a very serious problem and is definitely a step in the right direction. As the world population rapidly approaches 8 billion people, it seems that trash is an issue that is not going away anytime soon. The Nepalese have adopted a method to clean up one of the world’s greatest attractions, hopefully we can see laws like this go into effect in areas of the US and around the world to keep some of nature’s most beautiful assets beautiful and available for the generations after us. Well done, Nepal, Climb on!


Land Navigation Course


Vertical Rock Outdoor School (VROS) would like to present our Land Navigation Course! This is an 8 hour course that teaches the ins and outs of map and compass use, as well as how to apply these skills in a variety of outdoor scenarios and activities. Students will also learn the basics of back-country navigation using a variety of techniques, which they will then put into practice out in the woods, coached by the instructor.


What to expect

First-class instruction and plenty of adventure! The course begins with the 3hr classroom portion, which will teach you all about the applications for map and compass work, when and why to use it over GPS, how to read a map, understand contour lines and get the most out of your legend. Then you’ll learn about the different types of compasses, how and when to use each as well as how to accurately shoot a bearing in the field and take one from the map. You’ll learn how to walk a bearing, navigate around obstacles and triangulate your position. Finally we delve into map route selection and how to navigate by terrain association instead of just being a slave to your compass.

Soul Climber

I suppose it’s the enduring “why do you climb?” question but I’ve been thinking about the absurdity of climbing lately for some reason.

Q:  So, you’re going climb to the top of that (pitch, crag, mountain), huh?  
A:  Yes, I must.
Q:  And when you get there, then what?  
A:  Well, I’ll come back down of course.

Q:  Isn’t that dangerous?  
A:  Well yes, I suppose.  Perhaps even life-threatening at times.



Q:  BUT WHY????
Because I must.  I can no more imagine ignoring a beautiful horizon towering above my head than imagine myself not breathing.  It’s part of who I am, it connects me to the universe around me – and it connects me to you.



Climbing is Yin & Yang incarnate.  It is simultaneously completely pointless and yet essential.  A purest form of art – an act done exclusively for the sake of the doing – this is Soul Climbing.

As I’ve wandered and pondered lately I’ve come to understand that my soul isn’t completely contained withing the vessel of my presence.  That vessel, in fact, may only contain a very small portion.  The balance seems to reside in the soulful places and acts that make up the trivial span of a lifetime.  It may reside in those things that move us beyond the tangible – the innocence of a childs smile, the vastness of the oceans, a stirring melody, or the beauty and challenge of the mountains in which we play.

Perhaps it’s a good idea for us to find as many of these places and experiences as we can while we’re here?  Perhaps that’s the essence of growth – to find the places where our soul resides?  And, not to gather those pieces but rather to simply know where they are so that we might better understand our connectedness and how vitally important we are to one another and our universe.

Soul climbs are those that move us to connect and grow.

 Written by: Graver, Robert ”Soul Climber” 2013

Friday Night On The Rocks


A Friday night of climbing for the kids and a night off for the parents! Bring your kids in every Friday from 7pm to 9pm for a Group Open Climb. Come in and allow your kids to climb while our experienced climbing staff safely belays them up the wall.

  • 1975101_606658142749922_943710996_nAge Range: 6-12
  • Members: $15
  • Non Members: $25

The Webers Are Turning Muir Valley Over To Climbers

webers-u3029Rock Climbers are a VERY interesting group of people. Generosity, camaraderie, and openness are mixed with their raw skills, perseverance and fearlessness. This recipe adds up to build a community that works together to achieve their goals and create an environment that welcomes all and is extremely diverse. We, at Vertical Rock always hope to encompass these qualities and today, we’d like to tell you a story of two climbers that have helped add to the national Rock Climbing community and are looking to turn over a Rock Climbing area to the very people they’ve created it for.. Rock Climbers.

About ten years ago, Rick and Liz Weber purchased a plot of undeveloped land in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky and began plans to turn it into a world-class climbing area that they’d open to all who came with intentions of camping and Rock Climbing. There are no fees, and no costs associated with climbing there, but like any other private rock climbing areas, there is a waiver (shout out to the Vertical Rock waiver). Their generosity and openness of this area has attracted hundreds of thousands of climbers and boasts almost 300 routes.

Now it is time for the Webers to achieve the completion of the dream they had all those years ago when they first purchased this beautiful piece of land, and that is to turn the land over to the Rock Climbing community. Let’s help them do this!

This Sounds Cool, How Can We Help?

Vertical Rock has pledged and you should too! Through Friends of Muir Valley (FOMV), and the Access Fund have created a transition plan with a set of goals that, if accomplished in 2014, will result in the gifting of Muir Valley to the Friends of Muir Valley by March of 2015. The goal is to raise $200,000 this year to cover operating / maintenance expenses, as well as expenses associated with transfer of ownership and stewardship fund for the property.

This couple is a testament to the generosity and passion that Rock Climbers have instilled into them. Let’s give it up to Rick and Liz as they receive no profits from this, only praise and boy do they deserve it. Let’s keep Muir Valley for the climbers of the world and help give what you can!

Climb on,

VR Staff