The Sherpas and the Mountaineers
A deadly avalanche recently struck Mt. Everest, taking the lives of 16 Sherpa climbers who were helping Westerners summit the world’s tallest mountain. It was the deadliest avalanche ever on Everest, and it puts a spotlight on the Sherpas and the foreign mountaineers who enlist their aid. Wednesday, we’re talking about the evolving relationship between Sherpas and Western adventurers, one of mutual dependence and cultural conflict played out in a pressure-cooker environment of mortal risk.
Snowbird Ski and Mountain Resort and the Human Outreach Project is hosting a fundraiser for the families of the 16 Sherpas who perished in the recent avalanche on Mt. Everest. That event is on May 26. Visit Snowbird.com for more details. You can also contribute directly to a relief fund for the families of the lost Sherpas by following this link.
- Sherry Ortner is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at UCLA and author of the book Life and Death on Mt. Everest: Sherpas and Himalayan Mountaineering [Amazon|Indiebound].
- Alan Arnette is an experienced mountaineer who has climbed Everest four times and submitted in 2011. His blog about Everest on AlanArnette.com is closely followed by the international mountaineering community.