Himalayan Heroes: Then and Now

Himalayan Heroes: Then and Now

At Sherpa Adventure Gear, every garment we make is designed to live up to the legacy of the unsung heroes of Everest. For decades, climbers have been grateful for a Sherpa companion on the treacherous peaks of the Himalayas. Known for their mountaineering expertise, incredible stamina, and keen navigational skills, Sherpas guides have made possible the journeys of many famed Everest summiteers. Unfortunately, the Sherpa mountaineers’ legacy often lives in the shadows, and many of these incredible climbers never seek nor receive the praise they deserve. Our brand strives to commend and acknowledge these courageous individuals, present and past.

Tenzing Norgay

At the top of any list of noteworthy Sherpas is Tenzing Norgay, the first sirdar to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Although born in Nepal, Norgay began his career as a trekking porter in India at age 19, and served as a porter and guide on many European expeditions up the  famous peak prior to his infamous achievement in 1953. While leading a British expedition, Norgay and New Zealander, Edmund Hillary, reached the top of the nearly 9000 meter peak on May 29th. As a result of this unprecedented feat, Norgay quickly drew global attention to the Sherpa people like they had never experienced before.

Norgay became famous almost overnight after his 1953 Everest summit with Edmund Hillary, a feat that had never before been accomplished. Photo: Sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Ang Tharkay

Most famously known as the sirdar on the first ascent of Annapurna, Ang Tharkay played an immensely important role in Sherpa history. In 1950, he was chosen to be the head Sherpa on Maurice Herzog’s successful expedition of the 8000 meter peak. Standing only 5 feet tall, Tharkay and his team of Sherpas famously carried the badly frostbitten French climbers down the mountain after their journey proved to be too harrowing. It is said that his early experiences were a large influence on the career of Tenzing Norgay, who was a friend and colleague of Ang Tharkay.

Ang Tharkay in 1935 at the start of an Everest expedition. Photo: Dan Bryant / Royal Geographical Society

As the uncle of Sherpa Adventure Gear founder, Tashi Sherpa, Ang Tharkay has played a pivotal role not only in Sherpa history, but in the founding of our company. Through our carefully crafted designs and impactful practices, we aim to pay homage to Sherpa legends like Tharkay.

Continuing the Legacy Today

Trailblazers like Tharkay and Norgay have paved the way for modern day Sherpas like our very own athlete, Lakpa Rita Sherpa. Born in Thame as the son of a mountain guide, he is the first Sherpa to climb the highest peak on each of the seven continents (known as the Seven Summits). He has scaled numerous peaks all around the world, which include Everest 17 times, Cho Oyu 12 times, and Pumori twice. Having spent more than two decades guiding and climbing professionally, Lakpa Rita is universally recognized for his expertise and has earned the moniker of “Best Sirdar in the Khumbu”. Certainly one of the best in the world to test our products, his guidance and input are paramount in allowing us to craft the best possible adventure gear.

Inspired to walk in the Sherpa’s footsteps? Explore our mountain collection for the best of our technical gear, tested and proven to carry you through the harshest climates and most intense activities.


Informational Sources:

Christopher Klein, "Tenzing Norgay and Everest's Sherpas", History Stories, http://www.history.com/news/tenzing-norgay-and-everests-sherpas

Bob McKerrow, "Ang Tharkay - The Father of Modern Sherpa Climbers", Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer, http://bobmckerrow.blogspot.com/2010/09/ang-tharkay-father-of-modern-sherpa.html


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published