This porter walked throughout the night in the bitter cold without a headlamp in complete darkness because his load was so large that he took up the entire trail and had to maintain balance. If he were to have done it during the day, he would have encountered other porters and trekkers along the route, and he couldn’t readily move to the side on the narrow precipitous trails. He is arriving at 6am in Dingboche with construction material for a new teahouse.

A Porter’s Life in the Khumbu: Superhuman Tragedy

The Mighty Peaks of the Khumbu seen from the Chhuki Lhare Everest Memorial.
Pure Anguish.
Distressingly Cracked Feet carrying over 105 kilos (230 pounds) in worn rubber flip flops.
Examples of some of the impossibly heavy and cumbersome loads you see porters carrying.

Understanding Gear and Physiology

Dokos, the wooden handmade bamboo baskets.
Old plastic bags fashioned into Namlos, the headstraps and on the left you see the man holding a T-shaped Tokma walking stick.

Who are Sherpa?

Namche Bazar. The capital town of the Sherpa. It has become a hotbed for tourists. Many locals own small souvenir/gear shops, cafes and overnight teahouses for tourists. Some have accumulated wealth over time and will only live here during trekking and climbing season, while others will work as mountain guides and porters during the high season and go back to working the farms during the slower times. It’s a stunningly beautiful town and has a helicopter pad to bring goods in but most of it still brought in on porters backs and on yaks. There are no roads leading here…only dusty footpaths.
Last light hits the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest (29,032ft).
Local Sherpa people gathered at Tengboche Monastery beneath the shadows of Everest to enjoy the festivities of the ancient festival called Mani Rimdu, an annual celebration of empowerment.
Sherpa who call this region home.


A helicopter heads towards Everest Base Camp.
Lukla airport. The runway is extremely short at over 1,729 feet long. In contrast, most commercial airport runways are over 10,000 feet. It’s also at a grade of 12% to assist in planes slowing down and speeding up upon landing and take off. It’s also notorious for having dramatic weather shifts. Pilots must be specifically trained to land here and have to fly manually. Oftentimes, when weather comes in tourists are stuck for days or even weeks.
Throngs of tourists and Sherpa head deeper into the Khumbu on their way up to Everest. Roughly 40,000 people make their way from Lukla to base camp annually.

How You Can Help.



Be Curious. Be Compassionate. Mental Musings and Visual Meanderings. Home is in Colorado. Guide in Peru.

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Ryan Kost

Be Curious. Be Compassionate. Mental Musings and Visual Meanderings. Home is in Colorado. Guide in Peru.