While the life a Sherpa on Everest brings a steady income to an otherwise poor region, the risks involved exceed that of any other profession. The annual fatality rate for a Sherpa is 10x greater than that of a commercial fisherman, and is considerably greater than the fatality rate of a combat soldier. So the question is: Why do Sherpas on Everest keep dying? Outside Magazine takes a detailed look at the life of a Sherpa, what drives them to the mountains, and why so many never make it home (also, see the bottom of this post for a link to the full write up).
Sherpa Fatality Stats:
- Fatality Rate for Sherpas: 1 in 100
- For every 1 American death on Everest 7 Sherpas are lost
- Many families receive little to no insurance money for their loss
We reported earlier this year on the fight that broke out on Everest between Sherpas and guides, another example of the results of high stress and even higher danger involved with climbing Everest.
Companies are making some efforts to increase insurance benefits in the event of a catastrophe for the Sherpas, Nepal recently doubled the amount of required insurance companies must carry for Sherpas, along with the foundation of the Juniper Fund to help families who have lost someone on Everest. But still, the danger remains. Is it wrong for guiding companies to hire the Sherpas for their expertise in high alpine mountaineering?
You can read the full report online from Outside Magazine here.