Nepalese Climbers on Mount Everest Author:Ang Phurba Sherpa & Ramesh Raj Kunwar
If all the books on mountains were stacked on top of another, they would probably rival the heights of the peaks. Countless volumes on climbers and mountaineers are available in several languages. But there was a clear absence of a book specially dedicated to the Sherpa climbers, their feats and records - particularly one written by someone from the community itself. "Nepalese Climbers on Mount Everest" is a must-read for those who have even a trifle interest in the subject.
Ang Phurba Sherpa, who made a successful ascent on the Everest in 1979, has shown tremendous commitment by taking up the colossal task of tracing the history of each and every Nepalese climber and coming up with a pictorial book on them. Taking time out from his busy schedule as director of Wilderness Experience, a trekking company, he has bestowed a splendid book upon the mountaineering community. He has been ably helped in this task by noted anthropologist Dr. Ramesh Raj Kunwar, who has received doctoral degree for his research on the Nature-Man-Spirit Complex of the Sherpas of Nepal Himalayan Region.
The book enlists Nepalese Everest climbers. It also gives short biographies of some of the leading Nepalese climbers like Apa Sherpa, late Babu Chhiri Sherpa, Ang Rita Sherpa and Kaji Sherpa. Since almost all Nepalese climbers on Everest are from the Sherpa clan, the book concentrates on this community.
The book is divided into various chapters, including one providing case studies on famous mountaineers. Another chapter includes the viewpoints and experiences of noted foreign mountaineers. The book also has a chapter that tries to delve into the religious, cultural and environmental aspects of Nepalese climbers and their community.
Sherpas are internationally renowned for their awesome climbing skills. Acclimatized to high altitudes through centuries of inhabiting the mountain regions, the Sherpas today are on the front-line of every major mountain expedition. Foreigner mountaineers have gone to the length of saying that without the help of these Sherpas, their success is rarely guaranteed.
If one looks at the summiteers of not only the Mount Everest but also other high peaks, one is sure to find the dominance of Sherpa climbers. "They are specialist-climbers - where necessary carrying loads to high altitudes or up great faces and along desperately difficult ridges. They are mountain experts frequently acting as guides and leaders. Without their support many expeditions would fail to reach their objectives," writes Sir Edmund Hillary, the respected Everester, in his foreword to the book.
According to the authors, the book was written with the objective of providing Nepalese as well as foreigners easy access to information and records. Besides, they say the book is a tribute to all climbers who are no less than national heroes.
Punctuated by some of the most marvellous pictures of Khumbu region, Himalayas, mountaineers and Sherpa people, the 240-page hard-cover book, priced at Rs. 1,100, is a comprehensive depiction of the vividness of mountains and climbers.
The book also has a magnificent collection of photographs and vital statistics of all the Nepalese climbers. Therefore, it is a must-have for all the people interested in mountains. The book should help planners, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, students of tourism, and general readers better understand the heroes of Nepal.
The authors have pledged to rectify mistakes carried in this first edition and update it in their coming editions. Ang Phurba Sherpa and Dr. Ramesh Raj Kunwar deserve praise for presenting such a high-quality book.
By SANJAYA DHAKAL/Review/Spotlight VOL. 22, NO. 01, JUN 28 - JUL 04, 2002.
Publication: Number of Pages: 239 ISBN: 99933-756-0-8