You Can Learn A Lot From A Sherpa

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Do you ever feel inferior to others? If someone has more money, more status, more education, more culture, better looks?

I think all of us feel a certain sense of inferiority from time to time. But should we? Maybe, maybe not.

Generally, that lack of self confidence is perceived much more by the person who thinks he/she is inferior, rather than by the person perceived to be superior. Like, if you feel like you’re a worm, it’s probably you feeling that way rather than someone treating you like a worm.

I’m listening to an interesting interview on NPR with the famous mountain climber, Sir Edmund Hilary. Sir Edmund, as you probably know, was the first person to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest. The climber was being interviewed in 1993 and discussed many of the aspects of climbing the world’s highest peak. No book on Mt. Everest would be complete without mentioning the Sherpas.

The Sherpas are a klan of mountainous people who live at altitudes where the rest of us are gasping for air. They generally lead the adventures up Mt. Everest, helping whatever traveler du jour decides he/she wants to tackle the highest point on planet Earth.

While discussing the Sherpas, Sir Edmund describes them as a people without the least sense of inferiority.

Think of this…a small group of people, living life as would have been done three centuries ago in one of the most remote locations in the world. Now, imagine 21st century western climbers showing up with all their fancy gear, sub-zero mummy bags, aluminum climbing poles, freeze dried food, etc. Can you imagine what must go through a Sherpas head? According to Sir Edmund Hilary, one thing they do not feel is inferiority!

It’s kinda hard for me to imagine these guys in their animal hides and fur gloves seeing brightly colored parkas and heavy duty boots. Moreover, it’s gotta go through their head how advanced these westerners are! Yet, no inferiority. Go figure!

Think we should strive to be more like the Sherpas? Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, huh?

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  • nepalwriter

    Sherpas are the true hereos of Everest. To learn more about this amazing tribe, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

    Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to [www]

    Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

    Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
    Richard Blake for Readers Views.

    A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest.

    A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

    LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

    LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

    A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there.

    This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
    – John (college professor)

    Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialogue. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

    This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

    Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
    By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

    Available through Barnes and Noble, Borders,,, and the web site

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