Be a Sherpa
Whether or Not You are a Beekeeper or Nepalese

It was 70 years ago, on May 29, 1953, just before noon, that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mt. Everest. It took more than two weeks to reach the top of the world from their base camp.

This is a photo of Hillary and Norgay days before they reached the summit.

Hillary and Norgay

Hilary and Norgay

Just before they made the final assault to the top of Everest, Hillary and Norgay were practicing jumping between the ice crevices near the summit. On one of Hillary’s jumps, he successfully reached the other side, but the ice around the crevice gave way resulting in Hillary falling deep into a chasm. Quickly, Norgay tightened the rope, which saved Hillary’s life.

Hillary was from New Zealand, where he was a beekeeper. It certainly took an immense drive for a beekeeper to climb Sagarmatha, the name locals called Mt. Everest. The name means goddess of the universe.

Norgay was a Nepalese Sherpa. The term Sherpa means “People from the East.” They were devout Tibetan Buddhists. That meant that they saw mountains as sacred or holy places. There are countless prayer flags from the base camp to the summit of Mt. Everest. The prayer flags blowing in the wind will spread the message of compassion and harmony to the world.

This is a colorized photo taken by Hillary of Norgay at the top of Mt. Everest. He didn’t want a photo of himself. Why didn’t he merely ask Norgay to take a photo of him?

Norgay at the top of the world

Norgay at the top of the world

I have a wooden carving of a Sherpa from Nepal. I also have various prayer flags all over my home and a flag from Nepal.


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It seems to me that we all need to have a Sherpa mindset similar to that of Norgay. Essentially, Sherpas are driven to climb, but they will help others climb mountains. That was what Amanda Gorman’s poem The Hill We Climb addressed. Regardless of the height of a hill or mountain, we all need to climb them and help others as they also climb. Norgay saved the life of a New Zealand beekeeper on Mt. Everest. Gorman is helping others on their climbs. They are excellent role models for each of us.

Addendum: Listen to this Sherpa who was guiding a Chinese climber when he discovered another climber unconscious in the Death Zone on Mt. Everest.