Welcome back to another reading, everyone! Here’s the blog from today’s podcast down below. This one is about Everest and who we label as our real heroes!
Sherpas work where others battle for survival. Facing avalanches, snowstorms, earthquakes and freezing temperatures, they risk their lives to keep climbers equipped with essential provisions.
To this day, he is considered one of the greatest mountaineers ever to have lived. Reinhold Messner conquered the 8,848-meter peak of Mount Everest twice, both times without supplemental oxygen. It’s an incredible achievement. Still it pales in comparison to the feats of Lhakpa Tenzing, also known as Apa Sherpa. This Sherpa has scaled the world’s highest mountain an astonishing 21 times, a record that he shares with fellow Sherpa Phurba Tashi. Yet outside the climbing community, hardly anyone knows their names.
1. ____ Even before expeditions step foot on the mountain, the Sherpas are there to pave the way. Teams prepare a route over the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, up the Lhotse face, and along the summit ridge. They fix ropes for climbers to follow and place ladders in strategic places. It’s dangerous work, with crevasses opening up all the time, threatening to sweep them away in seconds.
2. ____ As the mountaineers move up the mountain, the Sherpas go ahead to prepare the camps for them. Shouldering loads of up to 20 kilos, they take food, water, oxygen bottles and luggage to keep their clients supplied. Hundreds of Sherpas carry 20 tons of equipment up the mountain over several days. In the thin air and temperatures of minus 15 degrees, it takes an almost superhuman effort.
3. ____ Foreign climbers, when asked why they want to try to conquer Everest, offer a range of responses: testing one’s limits, personal achievement, companionship in a shared challenge. One climber admitted wanting to write it on his CV. But what motivates the Sherpas to climb?
4. ____ Over the years, technology has helped to make ascents safer. Whereas only a few years ago, all that was available was a short-range walkie-talkie, climbers now carry mobile phones and laptops, which means they have access to weather reports.
5. ____ The dangers are such that even today, with months of training and state-of-the-art equipment, only one in every five foreigner climbers makes it to the summit. And that’s perhaps what makes the achievements of Lhakpa Tenzing and his colleagues all the more incredible. In reality, all of the world records on Everest — the first ascent, the longest stay on the summit, the fastest ascent — are held by Sherpas. It took Sherpa Pem Dorjee just eight hours and ten minutes to climb from the base camp to the summit. In contrast, even the fittest climber would take four days to cover this route.
6. ____ These hardy Sherpas are never the protagonists of the story. But it’s worth remembering that without them, the climbers’ ambition to reach the summit would be unachievable. The Sherpas, who magnanimously allow the climbers to take the glory, are the true heroes in the tale of human triumph over nature’s grandest challenge — Mount Everest.