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Sherpa Mount Everest Climbing Guides

Updated on April 15, 2017

In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to reach the summit or top of Mount Everest. Previous expeditions by others to reach the summit had failed.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. Every year hundreds of people from around the world try to climb the mountain. Only a small number make it to the summit or top. Mountain climbing can be very dangerous. It takes days to climb in frigid temperatures.

People who want to climb Mount Everest often start in the nation of Nepal. Local people called Sherpa often help with the climb. Tenzing Norgay was a Sherpa.

  Sherpa Pasang Norbu and Polish Mount Climber Andrzej Heinrich
Sherpa Pasang Norbu and Polish Mount Climber Andrzej Heinrich
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay | Source

The Sherpa live high in mountainous areas, so they are used to climbing. They know the mountains very well. The Sherpa have also adapted to living in high areas or high altitudes where lack of oxygen is a problem. People need to breathe oxygen to be healthy.

Climbing very tall mountains can be dangerous due to a lack of oxygen at higher altitudes. Climbers can suddenly become very ill. Their brains can start to swell. This is called cerebral edema. They get severe headaches and become dizzy.

Climbers who suddenly feel ill need to descend very quickly because cerebral edema can be deadly. Some mountain climbers do die on the mountains. Feeling ill at higher altitudes is called altitude sickness.

Yet the Sherpa people in the Himalayas can easily live at high altitudes that can cause altitude sickness or even kill other people. The lack of oxygen doesn’t harm them. They have adapted to the environment. This is why the Sherpa are so helpful to mountain climbers from other countries. However, even the Sherpa need oxygen tanks at the highest levels of Mount Everest.

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