Sherp - what is it? History, interesting facts

Sherpa. What is this word? Surely this noun has been heard by many, but its value for most people who are not familiar with ethnography, international relations or mountaineering remains a mystery.

Indeed, this word has several interpretations. Sherpas - what is it or who? The article will consider the origin of this word, give the most common examples of its use, and also reveal interesting facts relating to them.

sherpas porters


The most common meaning of the word "Sherpa" is the Asian people inhabiting the mountains of Nepal: a small state located in Asia. The ancestors of the ancient Tibetans, who previously inhabited this region, call themselves Sherpas.

In the east, Nepal borders Bhutan and Bangladesh. In the north - with China, and in the west and south - with India.

Where did the name come from

From the local dialect the ethnonym "cher-pa" (the name of a nation, ethnos) is literally translated as "a person from the east."Until recently, there was almost no information about these people. This is due to the relatively recent popularization of mountaineering and climbing tops above eight thousand meters.

Sherpas and Heavens

The Sherpa people have two ethnonyms - paradise and sherpa. What kind of differences can one ethnic group have? In fact, everything is very simple. All the differences between Sherpas and Paradise ends in height of residence. If Sherpas are people living at a height above three and a half thousand meters above sea level, then heavens are those who live below. That's all the difference.

sherpas porters

Appearance of Sherpas

Most of the representatives of this mountainous people are stunted and stocky, which is their clear advantage when moving through the mountains over other people. The secret is that, thanks to this build, the center of gravity of the body of these people is closer to the ground. Therefore, they are stronger on their feet.

Sherpa hair is black and straight. Outwardly, they differ from tourists not only in anthropological characteristics, but also in clothing. It is extremely rare to see in expensive modern Sherpa equipment. What does this mean? First, Sherpas do not need such.Secondly, not all representatives of a nationality can afford it.

From clothes they prefer ordinary jackets, leotards, hats. In order for the eyes not to blind the mountain sun, they invented special “glasses”, an eye patch with two narrow holes for the eyes.

The whole thermoregulation of the Sherpa, depending on weather conditions, consists in a buttoned or unbuttoned jacket. That's all.

sherpa woman


The most common and profitable business for the high mountain population is assistance in climbing. Who do sherpas often accompany? Commercial and non-commercial expeditions, which aim to conquer Everest or another peak in the Himalayan region. In this case, it is impossible to find better helpers than Sherpas. Feeling great at the height, they not only act as porters (porters) capable of carrying loads of climbers weighing up to forty kilograms, but also as organizers of railings. So in mountaineering is called a special rope, stretched from point A to point B, attached to the rock and allowing the explorers of mountain peaks to move strictly along the route with maximum speed and safety.Sherpas also often cross the chasms with special aluminum structures. The price of Sherpa services when climbing starts from twenty to thirty dollars a day and can go up to fifty.

In general, climbing Everest as part of a commercial expedition costs a tidy tourist, measured in thousands of dollars.

sherpa hut

Life of sherpas

Sherpas are very sociable and cheerful people. Many of them are talented artists and performers.

Sherpas live in small houses in unpretentious conditions. All the decoration of the home consists of ascetic furniture and a small kitchen. Having a big Sherpa house is a rarity. They usually live in small huts.

The most wealthy Sherpas own their business, associated, as a rule, with the provision of services to tourists. It is worth noting that the Himalayas - the cherished "Mecca" for every serious climber, and the flow of tourists in this place is unlikely to ever run out.

This nation can be attributed to the rapidly developing. A few decades ago, they practically had no written language, and now many of them speak English quite well.

Sherpa women are almost as hardy as men. Often, a beautiful half of this nation also assists in the ascent of tourists to Everest.

Sherpas can use anything that is edible as food. There are no restrictions. Normally, they relate to alcohol and even brew their local beer - chang.

Sherpas have developed agriculture on those plots of land that are suitable for it. Barley and rice are mainly grown.

Sherpa tradition has a place for polygamy. A man has the right to have several wives at the same time, provided that he is able to support them.

The names of this nationality are very funny. As a rule, they consist of a name, for example, Don, with the prefix "-sherpa". It turns Don Sherpa. Often the name of a person could change depending on his life, habitat conditions and status. From the point of view of population accounting, this is not very convenient, but this is a tradition that has long been ingrained in them.


Most Sherpas are Buddhists. While traveling in Nepal, Buddhist temples are often found, modestly decorated, but in the traditions of world religion. Sherpov can not be called fanatical adherents of religion.Nowhere is this publicly advertised.

"Mountain" gene

A distinctive feature of this nation is the so-called "mountain" gene. Back in the early twentieth century, the Europeans who occupied India noticed the inherent ability of the Sherpas to withstand all the overloads associated with being in the mountains. The reason for this is heredity.


When working on the slopes of the highest peak of the world annually happen accidents that take the lives of sherpas. The services they provide to private expeditions are paid more than adequately. At the same time, such work is associated with a huge risk to life. Every year, tens of volunteers die under avalanches.

The cause of the death of climbers before are complex meteorological conditions: gathering of snow masses, icy winds, snow storms, a sharp lack of oxygen. Everest is not in vain has the glory of one of the deadliest peaks in the world.

monument to Tenzing Norgay

Most famous sherpa

A true legend among the local population is Tenzing Norgay, or simply Tenzing-Sherpa. This man deserved the title of the most famous Sherpa in the world. In the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, even a monument was erected in his honor.

So what was the Tensing Sherpas feat? In a company with the British Edmund Hillary, this man first climbed to the highest peak of the world - Everest. It happened in 1953. The famous ascent was timed to the coronation of Elizabeth II. For such an outstanding achievement, the man received the highest state award in Nepal, the Order of Britain and India.

It is noteworthy that Tenzing Norgay was hired as porter-porter brigadier to participate in the expedition and his ascent to the highest peak was not originally planned by the British. It is difficult to say what really influenced the decision of the British expedition to send Tenzing to the “Top of the World”. It may have been the fears caused by the failure of the previous expedition of 1924, in which George Mallory and Andrew Irwin were killed. Perhaps the expedition leaders had other reasons. The fact remains. Tenzing Sherpa became one of the first climbers on Everest.

Distribution of the name "Sherpa" in other areas of life

Sherpas are not only the people inhabiting the mountains of Nepal. There is an off-road car with the same name.Also, the term "Sherpa" is used in foreign policy.

rover sherpa

Sherpa ATV

The severity and natural endurance of the Sherpas inspired the designers of technology to create one of the most popular and passable all-terrain vehicles in the history of mechanics. The name of this device is obliged to the fearless mountain people.

I must say that the tasks of the all-terrain vehicle and the Sherpas are similar. A vehicle with a high passability is also used to drop goods on mountain peaks. Who are the Sherpas accompanying? Commercial and research mountain expeditions. However, the car confidently feels not only on a mountain path, but also on rough terrain.

The price of the new "Sherpa" can vary from three to five million rubles. Expensive pleasure, however.

gerasim sherpa

The same Gerasim

The all-terrain vehicle in Russia owes much of its popularity to Gerasimu Sherpa. A man conducts a fascinating video blog, inventing all sorts of difficulties for his “iron horse” and with brilliance from them ... rolling out. The blog will be interesting not only for extreme drivers, but also for all lovers of hunting, fishing, treasure hunting and just an active lifestyle.

big eight

Sherpas in international politics

The political arena also has its sherpas. Of course, they are not engaged in assisting in climbing and do not carry on themselves the load, at least physical.

Sherpas are called the assistant leader of a country that is part of the G7 (G8). For each of the policies there is one Sherpas, whose duties include the preparation of working meetings of the leader, the preparation of the agenda and other necessary work.

The first Russian (Soviet) Sherpa was Yevgeny Primakov in 1991.

The tradition has spread to both the G-20 and the BRICS countries.


So what is a sherpa? An ideal synonym for sherpa is the word "conductor." As in the mountains, and in big politics, these people help their patrons achieve their goals, conquer the geographical and political peaks of the world.

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