Sherpas in the Himalayas guide mountaineers, rescue them from trouble, and look for them when the mountaineers go missing. But who rescues a Sherpa when they are at risk of death? Video footage of a very recent rescue operation on Mt Everest, posted on Twitter by Gesman Tamang, shows a Sherpa being lifted up from a deep and icy crevasse.
The video shows quite a heart-stopping rescue, as the rescuer climbs down, tied to a line, and cuts the ice with a shovel in order to make some room to move, so that the Sherpa in distress, stuck between two high walls of ice, can be lifted up.
Tamang wrote in his post that he wanted to highlight a rescue where a Sherpa was saved, because the media spotlight was always on rescues involving foreign climbers. Tamang’s profile described him as a “high altitude mountain guide + professional mountaineer + rescuer”.
Recently, a heroic individual named Gelje Sherpa made headlines after bringing a completely exhausted climber down from the “death zone” of Mt Everest. The rescued climber was not a client of Gelje Sherpa, who was attempting his sixth Everest summiting at that time; he simply spotted the stranded climber — no energy, no oxygen, in shock, unable to move — and decided to literally carry him down, placing the climber on his back.
Some time ago, three Sherpa guides got buried in snow on Mt Everest; they were not found and after a point, the search for them was abandoned.
Imagine Nepal Trek and Expedition, which had mobilised the guides, said on its social media page: “With great sadness, we must share the devastating news of the demise of three of our Sherpa brothers, Dawa Tseri Sherpa, Pemba Tenzing Sherpa and Lakpa Rita Sherpa. Our hearts are heavy with grief as we mourn the loss of these brave brothers who dedicated their lives to guiding and supporting climbers. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and loved ones.”