The melting of the ice pinnacles of the Khumbu Glacier at base camp.
It is the high altitude guides, mainly from the Sherpa community, who are mainly responsible for these records. From setting up tents to preparing food, setting lines, storing oxygen at high camps, and deciding which climbing windows matter most – it’s the Sherpa who make everything.
The other ethnic groups in Nepal have also started to rise through the ranks in different roles, and even among the Sherpas there are more and more people from the Makalu and Rolwaling regions.
We’re here to follow one such Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa from Walung below, Makalu, as he leads his first clients to the world’s highest peak for the first time as the owner of his brand new 8K Expeditions outfit .
In Sir Ed’s time, Phaplu was an important stop on the way to Lamosangu on the Everest trail. Today, most trekkers begin their journey after flying to Lukla, or even higher. Soon a road from Phaplu will arrive at Chaurikarka below Lukla.
For now, helicopters are the taxis of the Khumbu skies during the high season – transporting goods and trekkers between Lukla and base camp. Call them the “Ubercopter” or “Heli-Tootle” of the Himalayas.
Lakpa Sherpa himself came to Kathmandu and rose without wealth, without contacts, got up with the straps of his climbing boots, started as a porter 14 years ago.
“I started from scratch,” he recalls. “I didn’t get any advances from my father or my brothers. I used to wait at the shutters of different trekking agencies in Kathmandu to find work.
His first jobs were with Pasang Sherpa’s Green Lotus Trek and Expeditions. Eventually he was promoted to mountain guide and, between 2016 and 2021, became general manager of Pioneer Expeditions.