Who actually are the Sherpa People of Nepal?

A Super Human sort, Sherpas are known for their physical strength and climbing feats, however, there is more to them than just climbing.


Who actually are Sherpa People?

Sherpa (Nepali: शेर्पा) or Sherpas are one of the indigenous tribes of Nepal found mostly in the Northeastern regions of Nepal & India. Belonging to a Tibetan origin, they settled in Nepal thousands of years ago.

In the Tibetan language, Shar Pa means “people who live in the east,” and over time this descriptive term has come to identify the Sherpa community.

Sherpa family of Solukhumbu

Sherpa family of Solukhumbu

They account for a meager population of est. 155,000 – 200,000 of Nepal, however, being one of the most recognized clans, they have established themselves as an important part of the society.

:A recent study released by University of California realized more than 30 genetic enhancements among the people living in high-altitude regions of Nepal & Tibet, and one of them, EPAS1, also known as the “super-athlete gene,” is found in heaps in Sherpa community.


Formerly, a nomadic tribe, they are believed to have settled in Nepal thousands of years ago. They were driven out from the Kham district of eastern Tibet during 14th – 15th century by the warlike community, which made them Gypsies. They settled in Tingri region of Tibet, however, due to external conflict they later migrated to the current Solukhumbu region of Nepal. They belong to a Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism.

Before they were recognized for their physical strength and climbing abilities, they were mainly involved in cattle herding and farming. Post-1953, many Everest expeditions used Sherpas as full-time porters. During the commercialization of climbing in Nepal, Sherpas grew to be the climbing guides and assistants in expeditions. Today, they lead expeditions to many renowned peaks in the Himalaya, along with leading trek groups in Nepal.

5 Misconceptions about Sherpa

  1. Sherpa represents only the climbing community − Sherpa is an ethnic tribe of Nepal. The word Sherpa came from Tibetan, meaning “people who live in the east.” Despite being frequent in tourism, Sherpas have made their name in different socioeconomic sectors as well.
  2. Sherpa are illiterate and ignorant −The lack of modernization/development before in northern villages of Nepal led to mass illiteracy, however, with the advent of technological advancement, Sherpas today are regularly schooled.
  3. Sherpa belong to nomadic tribes −They used to belong to a nomadic tribe which traveled from Tibet to Nepal, however, Sherpas have settled and lived in Nepalfor generations, therefore, they don’t relocate anymore.
  4. Sherpas are known only for outdoor activities −It’s a wrong portrayal of Sherpa community. While many of them are employed in Outdoor agencies, many others chose a different path of life.
  5. Guaranteed Everest summit −Many believe that having Sherpas in your team is an assurance for Everest summit. Well, Sherpas alone cannot guarantee successful Everest summit, your physical condition, training, weather conditions etc play equally important roles in determining success.

Some Renowned Sherpas

#1 Tenzing Norgay Sherpa

Tenzing Norgay doodle

Tenzing Norgay doodle

Tenzing Sherpa was one of the first person in the history of mankind to summit Mount Everest. He was appointed as a porter by Eric Shipton during an Everest expedition of 1935. Before reaching the Everest summit in 1953. His teammates and superiors applauded him for his strength, friendliness and maturity. Once, after rescuing Hillary from a crevasse fall during 1953’s expedition he befriended him and later became his climbing partner. >>Read complete article

#2 Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa, nicknamed “Super Sherpa,” is a mountaineer who has climbed Mount Everest for the record 21 times as of May 2013. He started his career in the mountains in 1985 (he worked as a kitchen boy and porter for various groups). It wasn’t until 1990 that he made his first ascent of the Everest.

#3 Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa is the first Nepalese woman to summit Mount Everest. Born in a mountaineering family, she had successfully climbed Mont Blanc, Cho Oyu, Mount Yala peak, Pisang Himal, and many others. She has been conferred by many local and international accolades for her feat.


Get Free Advice from Travel Experts

(Trek the popular trails of Nepal covering Sherpa culture and lifestyle in-depth)


One thought on “Who actually are the Sherpa People of Nepal?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s