Thursday, November 11, 2010

Porters and Sherpas

The porters were nothing short of amazing. It was mind-blowing the amount of weight each one carried. I tried to lift a load one day and I could barely budge it. I would say that it was pushing 100 lbs.

Treks would not be possible if it were not for the porters. I have nothing but the highest respect for them. Our trekking group had 12 porters.

We had 5 sherpas (guides) who's primary job was to look after our safety and make sure we didn't get lost. Each were most professional, competent at their job, and alot of fun to be around.

Overseeing the kitchen staff, porters and sherpas was Devi, the Sirdar (the head honcho) who was responsible for assembling and hiring the support staff and overseeing it's day to day supervision.

We also had 10 donkeys to schlep the heaviest gear and donkey driver, Shama, who was short in height but big in heart. He was a neat guy and I had fun watching him go about his job herding the long-eared critters.

Note how the porters carry the load. A head strap tied to the load bears the full weight. There are no hip straps or any other means of carrying the load. Porters must have the strongest neck muscles in the world.

On our first day, Mick introduces the support staff

Although most porters are men, we had the good fortune to have a woman porter. "Little Sister" portered along with her brother. She was amazing to watch and carried as much as the men.

Changa, 2nd one from the left, was the head cook, with some of the other kitchen staff

Mick introducing the crew with Devi (Sidar), with hat, translating into Nepalese

Devi . . . he's THE MAN!

The four sherpas who were outstanding - Dawa (head sherpa), Tunang, Umbang, and Langen

Mick introducing Shama, the donkey driver

The assistant cook (forgot his name)

OK, time to hit the road. Porters tying their load

"Little Sister" putting her load together

Here's my two North Face bags which weighed in at 65 lbs alone

And there they go. I hope I see them in camp. . .

The amazing "Table Man", who schlepped our metal tables, chairs and his own gear between camps

Like mountain goats, they tackled the steep trails sure footed

The kitchen staff porters carried the equipment in baskets

Going over Kang La (18,000+') in the snow

Through the Gateway into the village of Phu

Kitchen porters trucking along

There goes Table Man

On a very steep trail, they come truckin' on by. When we see the porters coming up from behind, we yell "porters back!" and move aside.

The Red Team

Up and over another steep hill

Shama, Langen, and Devi keeping warm in the kitchen tent

On our last day together at a hotel in Jomsom, we had a party and Mick handed out the wages, tips, and gifts to the crew

Speeches, thanks, and hugs all around

"Little Sister"

Dawa, head sherpa, was most professional with a great personality


Mick hugs and lifts Changa, the head cook

And in return, Changa lifts Mick

A big hug to Devi . . . end of a successful trek and great party!

Next blog - Trek Meals for sampling of what we ate
Click on "Older Post"

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