An Everest climber argues that Sherpas are undervalued for the work they perform and how they put their lives on the line.
Though scaling Everest has become a lucrative adventure sport, Apa and other Sherpas, many of whom use their ethnic group as a last name, say they are not getting their fair share of the income. Since commercial expeditions began in the early 1990s, wealthy clients have lined up to pay as much as $65,000 to companies that organize expeditions.
Sherpas can earn $2,000 to $3,000 in the two-month climbing season, securing ladders and ropes and carrying clients’ loads. Elite Sherpa climbers like Apa do far more than that, carefully shepherding to the summit Westerners who often have scant mountaineering experience and whose lives may rest in the Sherpas’ hands.