Inspiration Of Sherpa Adventure Gear Cultural Studies Essay

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Sherpa Adventure Gear was inspired by the many unsung Sherpa heroes of Everest. From the start, our goal has been to create outstanding outdoor clothing and gear you can depend on. Whether you're trekking around Europe, prepping to climb Everest, or just heading out for a hike close to home, our complete line of base layers, travel clothing, shells and winter-worthy insulation has got you covered. But more than this, we want to show you a glimpse of the Sherpa culture and way of life. And at the same time support our Sherpa community back home. Whether you are looking for gear on your next adventure, or just want to learn more about the Sherpa people, you have it all under Sherpa Adventure Gear (SAG).

From the early days of Sir Edmund (And then one day I read he had been knighted by the Queen. About time I thought.Next thing I knew, Sir Ed was New Zealand's ambassador. I am sure the honor was New Zealand's more than anything else. Nepal finally had the good sense to make him a honorary Nepali citizen in 2003. Such goodwill and honor can only come to those who seek it least.We live in a cynical world of instant bombast and gratification. Here in the US, where I reside, we are constantly fed with a barrage of nonsensical sound bites glorifying the social stupidities of those who are famous for being famous. Very rarely do we get to enjoy genuine heroes. With Hillary Saab now gone from us, our world has lost a lot more than we will ever know.)

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Hillary's first successful summit, to modern mountaineers' attempts on treacherous Himalayan peaks, these incredible high-altitude climbers have been there in every step of the way-guiding, hauling food and gear, setting ropes, and rescuing sick and injured climbers. Unfortunately even though climbers pay thousands of dollars for permits and guides, Sherpas still often live in impoverished conditions. And it is their children who suffer most when a Sherpa guide is injured or killed in a climbing accident. In order to honor their heroic feats, Sherpa Adventure Gear has partnered with Alpine Ascents to donate up to $.50 for every item sold to The Sherpa Education Fund. We are also in the process of setting up additional non-profit partnerships to benefit the health, education, and welfare of underprivileged Sherpa children.

In addition to this, we employ local Sherpas in our office in Katmandu, and contract with Sherpa artisans (some of whom are our own cousins) to create our beautiful, hand-made wool hats. So every product you buy makes a direct impact on the lives of these amazing people.

In the ensuing years, I went to college, but always followed this great man's journey, through the sporadic

Ang Gyalzen Sherpa

At age 90, Gyalzen Sherpa is the only surviving Sherpa from Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's historic first summit of Everest in 1953. He is also Sherpa Adventure Gear founder Tashi Sherpa's uncle, and the inspiration for our company.

When he was a child, Gyalzen discovered that the Swiss expedition with the soon-to-be-famous Tenzing Norgay at the helm had already left for the mountain. Undaunted he ran until he caught up with the expedition, and was thankfully offered a position collecting firewood and carrying loads for the group. A dependable, honest and hard worker, when the expedition ran short of money and sugar, he was honored with the responsibility of traveling to Kathmandu to pick up 18,000 rupees (a princely sum!) and buy additional supplies. Since the money was in coins, he and his companions had to carry it in three big, heavy tins the almost fifty miles back to base camp.

On the way back he was waylaid by a severe storm in Thukla and began to rethink the wisdom of his decision to work for the mountaineering expeditions. Soon however, Tenzing promoted him to local porter. This allowed him to carry loads up to the higher altitudes and make additional pay. He was thrilled to also be given a complete set of mountaineering gear including jacket, pants and climbing shoes as part of his promotion. The shoes were what he treasured most since they allowed him to proudly walk the slopes with ease. Much to his dismay, all the gear was taken back by the team at the end of the expedition.

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Gyalzen continued landing work as a porter, and in 1953, eager to earn a bonus offered to Sherpas who climbed the highest, he twice carried gear to Everest's 26,200-foot South Col. He was also honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal for his part in supporting the famed Hillary expedition.

Though he never reached the summit of Everest, after more than 12 years hauling loads for eight major expeditions, Gyalzen finally saved enough money to retire from climbing. "Going on a mountain is like going to war," he recalls. "You don't know whether you'll come back or not." After retiring, he quickly turned to a safer and more lucrative occupation … carrying Nepali paper, butter and silver 3 days across the Nangpa Pass to trade in Tibet for rock salt, wool, and yaks. He also devoted time to the Sherpa community and was chosen as the Chorinba (community leader of the monastery), a role that he served in for 35 years.

Today Gyalzen lives a quiet life with his wife of 63 years, Pemba Lhaki (age 93). Although he is widely regarded as the richest man in Namche Bazaar, he spends his days in prayer, living in the same house he grew up in. He is the last of the original Sherpa climbers.

Ang Tharkey (1908-1981)

The First Sherpa

by Kunda Dixit

Mountain climbing was serious business in the early days. Expeditions attempting to climb Peak XV (Sagarmatha, Mt. Everest, Chomolungma) undertook two month-long treks from Darjeeling across the Tibetan Plateau via Shekar Dzong to Rongbuk. When and if they survived that, the road was straight up the extremely difficult North Col route to Everest. Without oxygen, and with equipment that seems woefully lacking compare to what's used today. But climb they did. Reaching 28,000 feet and more, higher than any man had ever been before, they were turned back by premature monsoons and bad snow. The reward? They limped back to Darjeeling minus fingers and toes.

Ang Tharkey, who died in Kathmandu on July 28th 1981, belonged to the first generation of elite climbing Sherpas. Born in 1908 in Khunde in the Year of the Monkey (according to the Tibetan calendar) Ang Tharkay went to Darjeeling at the age of twelve in search of work with expeditions.

He accompanied Eric Shipton on eight of his pre-war expeditions in the Himalaya, including four on the northern route to Everest. Ang Tharkey had seen the days when high altitude porters were paid six annas compensation for each finger they lost by frost bite. And if the injury was really bad, and a porter could not walk back to Darjeeling, he was entitled by contract to receive a pony and one rupee compensation. Sherpas received blankets for high altitude camps, and sleeping bags were issued only during emergencies.

When Nepal was opened to expeditions, and the first reconnaissance groups traveled up the Dudh Kosi to Solu Khumbu, Ang Tharkey was with them. He had shed his traditional Sherpa pigtail, and dressed in smart woolen breeches, "but had same, shy reticence and quite humour", that Shipton remembered. He joined Eric Shipton, and Edmund Hillary on their 1951 expedition in which they tackled the treacherous Khumbu ice fall, the gateway to the southern route to Everest, and paved the way for the first successful ascent two years later. The expedition then went on to explore the upper reaches of the Imja Valley, the Hongu Basin, and then crossed the Tesi Tapcha into Rolwa Jing. Shipton was impressed by Ang Tharkey, and was moved to remark that he regarded his chief Sherpa as "a man of outstanding character and ability".

Ang Tharkey also took part in another epoch making Himalaya climb, the French Expedition to Annapurna in 1950, lead by Maurice Herzog. He reached the top camp above the "Sickle" on the north face of the first eight-thousander to be climbed.

After this, he was sent for training in technical climbing in Switzerland by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling. Although he was invited by Herzog to bring his wife along to France, it is indication of Ang Tharkey's forthrightness that he refused to take his wife to save his "Bara Sahib" extra expenses!

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In 1954, Ang Tharkey resigned from the HMI and set up his own business taking trekkers up to Kangchenjunga. In 1962, he became the oldest man to have climbed up to eight thousand meters, when he made it to the South Col with the Indian Everest Expedition. Although he then retired from active mountaineering, Ang Tharkey took a party up to the Annapurna Sanctuary in 1975, and sirdared the French Expedition to Dhaulagiri in 1978.

At seventy three years young, Ang was still extremely fit, and many remember the cheerful waves he gave from his bicycle on Durbar Marg. (He never rode in cars if he could help it). Ang Tharkey was looking forward to a quiet retirement in his orchard and farm in Simbhanjayang, when he was suddenly hospitalized and died of cancer.

Ang Tharkey is survived by his wife, four sons and a daughter.

Remembering Pemba

This is a remembrance and information site for the friends and family of Pemba Doma Sherpa, who died in a climbing accident on 21 May, 2007. To post, please contact info@sherpaadventuregear for an invitation. Please sign your posts. For media/sponsors/others: out of respect for Pemba's remembrance, for accuracy, and for copyright please ask prior to quoting or reproduction. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

http://sherpaadventuregear.com/rememberingpemba/uploaded_images/IMG_9787-726086.JPG

I can't tell you how saddened we are about the passing of Pemba. With her accomplishments, she was an outstanding example to her people. But we will always remember her sweetness, evidenced by her interest in and affection for our grandchildren. You have our deepest sympathy and are in our prayers. Please let us know if there is anything we can do. I have included a picture with our grandson Will sitting on her lap.

Larry and DeDe Barrigar

posted by Larry at 1:14 PM 0 Comments  

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A little bit about Pemba...

http://sherpaadventuregear.com/rememberingpemba/uploaded_images/IMG_1329-798452.jpgPemba Doma Sherpa: 37 years old Pemba was the first Nepalese women to conquer Everest from the north side and one of only six women, who have scaled the mountain twice, most recently as part of the 2002 Nepalese women Expedition (South Face). Raised by her grandparents after losing her mother at the age of two, Pemba Doma was educated at the Khumjung School, one of 26 schools that Sir Edmund Hillary has established in the Solu Khumbu region since 1961. Pemba speaks nine languages and travels around the world raising money for her non profit group, Save the Himalayan kingdom, which educates Nepalese children, regardless of caste. She now splits her time between Namchee and Kathmandu.

http://sherpaadventuregear.com/rememberingpemba/uploaded_images/PICT0117-732323.jpg

Name: Ms. Pemba Doma Sherpa (7th July 1970)

Nationality: Nepali

Mountaineering Expeditions:

Mt Everest (North Ridge Route) 8848 meters: Summited

Mt Everest (South East Route) 8848 meters: Summited

Mt Cho Oyu, 8201 meters: Summited.

Lobuche East: Summited

Island Peak: Summited

Mt Blanc: Summited

Social Project:

President of Save the Himalayan Kingdom (a non profit group), which supports education and does restoration project of Buddhist nunneries and monasteries.

Awards:

1. National Award of Nepal, SUPRABAL PRASHIDDHA GORKHA DAKSHIN BAHU by His Majesty Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal for Mountaineering.

2. Gold medal for Mountaineering, Nepal.

3. Sky Walk - The Soles of Records, Italy

Media Highlights:

Pemba Doma Sherpa is featured in:

1. Titled: The Unsung Heroes of Everest, April 2003

Outside Magazine (US) - April 2003

2. Resurgence Magazine, UK (Jan-Feb #228) "one of the six women who embrace the mountains on a daily basis"

3. BBC documentary, Celebrating 50 years on Everest.

4. Aspen Times US, The Kathmandu Post, Kantipur, Himalayan Times, Nari Magazine, Mount Everest.net, Everestnews.com.

Language: Fluent in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Nepali, Tibetan, Sherpa, and Hindi.

Pemba Doma is a member of Sherpa Adventure Gear.

Two Seattle-Based Companies Team Up to Raise Awareness of, and Support for, the Underprivileged Sherpas of Nepal.

International climbing guide firm Alpine Ascents has contracted with Sherpa-Owned Outdoor Clothing Company Sherpa Adventure Gear to Outfit Their

Rainier Guides for the 2008 Climbing Season.

(Seattle, Wa - May, 2008) For the 2008 climbing season, all Alpine Ascents climbing guides on Mt. Rainier will be outfitted in clothing from Sherpa Adventure Gear. In addition, Sherpa Adventure Gear will be providing product to Alpine Ascents for use as client gifts. By doing this, the companies hope to create more awareness of the Sherpas themselves, as well as the Sherpa Adventure Gear (SAG) Brand, which donates a portion of all proceeds to Alpine Ascents non-profit Sherpa Education Fund.

Although climbers pay tens of thousands of dollars to climb peaks like Everest, and the Sherpa play a critical role in the success of most climbing teams, they rarely receive the type of notoriety and wages foreign guides are accustomed to. Many live in or near poverty, and their families and children suffer when a Sherpa guide is injured or killed on a climb. Currently, tourism accounts for approximately four percent of this desperately poor country's GDP.

Both companies have a long history of working to support the Sherpa people and raise their profile in the US in a variety of ways. In addition to running the Sherpa Education Fund, Alpine Ascents regularly takes climbing clients to the top of Everest and other peaks in Nepal (and worldwide) with the help of Sherpa guides.

Sherpa Adventure Gear was founded in 2002 by Tashi Sherpa, nephew of one of the Sherpas on Sir Edmund Hillary's famed Everest climb, specifically as a way to help raise awareness for, and give back to, the unsung Sherpa heroes of Everest. In addition to donating a portion of proceeds to the Sherpa Education Fund, the company maintains offices and manufacturing in Nepal, purchases products directly from Sherpa artisans in Namche Bazaar, and supports a team of Sherpa Athletes and Product Ambassadors.

Alpine Ascents was founded in 1986 by Todd Burleson out of his love of traveling and climbing, and knack for guiding. Today, the Seattle-based company provides international guiding services to climb many of the toughest peaks in the world including the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each of the seven continents) as well as their Alpine Ascents Mountaineering School. Their non-profit foundation raises funds for schooling Sherpa children from remote areas of Nepal, where access to education is extremely limited.

To learn more about these companies visit www.sherpaadventuregear.com and www.AlpineAscents.com. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Tashi Sherpa (SAG) at (425) 251-0760 or Gordon Janow (Alpine Ascents) at 206-378-1927.

Giving "Sherpa" a New Identity

http://sherpaadventuregear.com/SAG_Blog/uploaded_images/Tashi-Sherpa-740433.jpgBy Tashi Sherpa of the New Business Age Magazine

Tuesday, 01 January 2008

From www.newbusinessage.com

Up until now the word 'Sherpa' has always evoked the image of a mountain community legendary for its skills in mountaineering. Tashi Sherpa however has taken the name further by using it in his brand of outdoor clothing and gear, Sherpa Adventure Gear.

Sherpa Adventure Gear, the US company that Tashi owns , has its roots in the early 1980s when Tashi owned a clothing factory in Kathmandu. In 1989, he migrated to the USA with his family shortly after selling his interests in the business.

Looking back, Tashi feels strongly that the local industry might have been served better had we collaborated with either Korean or Hong Kong manufacturers. Their technical expertise and guidance would have eased the initial learning curve and given it the right impetus. "But that does not take anything away from the tremendous contribution of Indian importers who after all were the ones to kick start garment exports in Nepal." he adds.

Those days, there was limited opportunity for growth with factories working mainly on overflow business. Profits were minimal and no creative control existed. Still, he invested and learned about product design and development, experimented with line systems when it was unusual for factory owners to venture too much out of their comfort zone. This led to orders from overseas retailers and really built the foundation for his eventual business model. It gave him the confidence to venture into direct business with retail chains. However, the end of the 1980s showed the first signs of an inevitable decline in garment exports from Nepal. While the other countries were opening up with better facilities and cost competitive advantages, Nepal's inherent challenges of being landlocked and higher costs of production, would mean drastic cuts and slowdowns in the immediate future. "We were competing with ourselves on price. The same customer who bought an article from us for $ 10 would ask to reduce it to $ 7 because Bangladesh was ready to provide it for $ 6. It appeared there was no end to this sort of price cutting and that was a slippery slope," he recalls. It did not help also that the quota regime was soon coming to an end and there would be no need for anyone to buy garments from Nepal.

So, in 1989, he moved with his family to Seattle, Washington. There, he once again started his import business from scratch right in the middle of the worst US recession, because, as he puts it, that was what he knew best and at the age of 36 it was not possible to start a career in a new field. In the early days, his fledgling company imported merchandise in small lots from Nepal and other neighboring countries. Now 19 years later, that business, under the name Duo-Wear has successfully managed to fill in the large private label volume needs of specialty stores and distributors as a producer and supplier of sportswear. He stresses that creative sourcing, pricing and cost efficient delivery are key drivers for this market.

Four years ago, he established Sherpa Adventure Gear, which was inspired by a simple idea. He is grateful for Duo Wear's success, since this allowed him to leverage its resources into supporting the creation and growth of his current brainchild.

During all these years Tashi kept his connection with Nepal. His Nepal office, initially run by a few key personnel, is growing every day, all involved deeply in product development, preseason sampling and sourcing. He considers it a matter of great pride that initial production patterns are all prepared and sent from his Nepal office to vendors in China, Hong Kong and Korea. This system continues today, with quality control and technical details still being supervised and finalized from here. A design and merchandising team in the US oversees creation of new seasonal lines. International sales and marketing is managed by his daughter, Tsedo Sherpa, who is now Vice President. An experienced sales team covers the entire US along with distributors in Europe, Asia, North and South America.

To the question of how doing garment business in USA is, "Very tough," responds Tashi. "The prices of mass merchandise are so low. In fact, the US is perhaps the cheapest market in the whole world. You can often buy garments in the US cheaper than in Nepal. Where else can you buy a big flat screen TV for $ 375?" he asks. The conclusion is that to be successful in the US in manufacturing, one has to have tremendous resources and resilience. One needs to create a niche and work at it.

The story of Sherpa Adventure Gear started in May 2003, when Tashi was walking down the streets of Manhattan, New York. He suddenly saw the picture of his uncle Ang Gyalzen Sherpa staring at him from the cover of a magazine's issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first ascent on Mt. Everest. Now at the age of 90, Ang Gyalzen is the only surviving Sherpa member of the celebrated expedition that put Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on top of the world's highest peak in 1953.

He was deeply saddened to read about the unsung Sherpa heroes who, in spite of their brave feats, spend their lives without the glamour and economic success enjoyed by Western climbers. These very climbers would never have been able to reach the summit of Everest without a Sherpa by their side.

After reading that magazine story, he felt the urge to do something for the Sherpas and tell their story to the world. Thus grew the idea of setting up Sherpa Adventure Gear, a company that would produce high quality climbing gear and clothing, tested and endorsed by world famous Sherpa mountaineers. In return they receive royalties based on sales.

"We started this without any concrete business plan," he recalls though he does not recommend it to any budding entrepreneur. It was just sheer faith in the brand's message. Over the past four years, it is paying off, he says. Explaining it, he adds: "I believe in the Toyota Way which says you have to learn by doing it yourself and making mistakes in the process. Continuous improvement is the only way."

Tashi is happy with the way the brand and its story has resonated among customers everywhere. It is already being distributed in more than 10 countries such as the USA, UK, Austria, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Taiwan, New Zealand and, most recently, Colombia. The growth in the business in the last couple of years has necessitated more capital investment for him. The plan is to invite like minded investors through private placements in the near future. The goal is to increase brand awareness for Sherpa Adventure Gear and establish a strong global footprint through distributors and company owned retail outlets in major cities. Two of his closest friends are the first outside investors in the company

Sherpa Adventure Gear believes in a win-win business philosophy by selling a superlative product to people who love the outdoors. Out of the sales, royalty is paid to the Sherpa brand ambassadors and a contribution is made to Sherpa Education fund from where scholarships are provided for poor Sherpa children.

One of the current goals is to increase sourcing from Nepal for Sherpa Adventure Gear. The idea that Nepal is only a source of cheap products is no longer true, at least for the Sherpa brand. "But this is only a plan right now. It may change if the situation in the country turns unfavorable again. Of course, the hope is that the climate for investment turns stable," he clarifies. One has to have a plan in writing but must also be flexible enough to change as the situation demands.

"And this is the model that the Nepali export industry has to go for," says Tashi. "Harping on the same old demand of subsidies and duty free entry for Nepali products is not going to get this industry anywhere. We have to do something that makes our inherent cost strictures and price challenges irrelevant and that can be done by creating a 'blue ocean niche'," he adds. Sherpa Adventure Gear products are not cheap because it competes with the best outdoor brands in the world. Its world class catalogues, which are printed twice a year, play a tremendous role in showcasing not only its gear but also the unique beauty and culture of the Sherpa landscape. Price is not the issue for this eponymous brand.

What about the complaint that Nepali workers are not so productive? Tashi does not agree. Their skills are on multiple levels and all it takes is a firm belief in the human spirit, be they Nepali or Chinese. Constant training, empowerment of the individual and believing in their ability, regularly teaching them new ideas, encouraging them and walking the floor, listening to their voice and winning their trust - these are the keys to success, he says. It is just not about fair wages alone. Nepal has a pool of skilled workers, versatile and very sharp in understanding what is needed," he believes. "It is a rare skill these days to be able to sew complete garments and that is what our people here do. We just don't sew clothing. Our people proudly make gear that perform in all weather conditions and which are as good as the best outdoor brands out there. This is a global brand and they help make it happen. They are our best kept secret and a tremendous asset for the company."

Photo of Tsedo Sherpa and Tashi Sherpa by Joseph Puryear.

I Never Met Sir Ed

http://sherpaadventuregear.com/SAG_Blog/uploaded_images/Edmundhillarycropped-739730.jpgFor a young Sherpa boy in the sixties, steeped in the lore of Tenzing Norgay and his good friend Hillary, it was nothing short of a miraculous visitation, when my mother surprised me with "Hillary Saab and Agu Tenzing are coming to our house this afternoon, so don't go off tramping around, and make sure you are here to greet them". Those were the magical days of my childhood in Kalimpong, 40 years ago. We were not wanting of heroes then. We read Zane Grey westerns and watched Audie Murhpy fight off injuns at the Kanchan hall, read snippets about the wizard Pele who dribbled past eight players and scored goals at will. But Tenzing was our own, someone we knew proudly and boasted of to my friends as my Agu (Uncle). He and Hillary had conquered the insurmountable and in a post world war era, they were the beacons of hope. Tenzing was a frequent visitor to our house and a great friend of my parents. I knew of Edmund Hillary only through Tenzing's biography and to me he was this distant white giant that somehow was irritatingly always spoken of in the same breath when one asked about who was the first to climb Everest. We all desperately wanted Tenzing to be the only one and it irked me that we Sherpas had to share our glory with someone else.

I asked Amala (mother) about Hillary and she admonished me gently that all Sherpas called him Hillary Saab and that he was kind and unassuming and a great friend of the Sherpas and very tall. She went about taking out our best silver ware, the famous blue willow tea set which I remember seeing in full regalia only that one time.

It was too much for me that here were two heroes, larger than life, descending on us. I became nervous and a bit scared of making a fool of myself. It suddenly occurred to me that I maybe asked too many questions by Hillary Saab and his entourage. And so I did the next best thing. I ran away that afternoon.

I am not sure if Amala ever scolded me for that faux pas, but I know that I will forever regret bitterly that I was not brave enough to meet Sir Ed. How I wish I could turn back that clock to just say I shook hands with the greatest Sherpa hero that ever walked over Chomolungma. For, to me and all of us Sherpas, there is no doubt in our souls that he was a Sherpa more than anyone one of us can hope to be.

http://sherpaadventuregear.com/SAG_Blog/uploaded_images/TenzingonSummit-739045.jpgIn the ensuing years, I went to college, but always followed this great man's journey, through the sporadic news that came from newspapers and personal encounters with those who had the good fortune to work with him. I read and heard with deep gratitude on his selfless mission to better the lives of those in the Khumbu valley. I could immediately sense the deep reverence that my cousins from Namche felt for Hillary Saab. The brilliant careers of many Sherpas today owe it to Sir Ed's drive and committed compassion to bring education and health to the Sherpas. I felt deep sorrow at his great loss when his wife and daughter perished in a tragic plane accident and marveled at his fortitude when he led an expedition through the Ganges in the seventies.

And then one day I read he had been knighted by the Queen. About time I thought.

Next thing I knew, Sir Ed was New Zealand's ambassador. I am sure the honor was New Zealand's more than anything else. Nepal finally had the good sense to make him a honorary Nepali citizen in 2003. Such goodwill and honor can only come to those who seek it least.

We live in a cynical world of instant bombast and gratification. Here in the US, where I reside, we are constantly fed with a barrage of nonsensical sound bites glorifying the social stupidities of those who are famous for being famous. Very rarely do we get to enjoy genuine heroes. With Hillary Saab now gone from us, our world has lost a lot more than we will ever know.

- Tashi Sherpa, President and Founder of Sherpa Adventure Gear

Nepali Times Company of the Month

Sherpa Adventure Gear was name the April 2009 Nepali Times Company of the Month!

Read the full article at http://www.nepalitimes.com.np/issue/2009/04/3/Business/15815.

Two Seattle-Based Companies Team Up to Raise Awareness of, and Support for, the Underprivileged Sherpas of Nepal.

International climbing guide firm Alpine Ascents has contracted with Sherpa-Owned Outdoor Clothing Company Sherpa Adventure Gear to Outfit Their

Rainier Guides for the 2008 Climbing Season.

(Seattle, Wa - May, 2008) For the 2008 climbing season, all Alpine Ascents climbing guides on Mt. Rainier will be outfitted in clothing from Sherpa Adventure Gear. In addition, Sherpa Adventure Gear will be providing product to Alpine Ascents for use as client gifts. By doing this, the companies hope to create more awareness of the Sherpas themselves, as well as the Sherpa Adventure Gear (SAG) Brand, which donates a portion of all proceeds to Alpine Ascents non-profit Sherpa Education Fund.

Although climbers pay tens of thousands of dollars to climb peaks like Everest, and the Sherpa play a critical role in the success of most climbing teams, they rarely receive the type of notoriety and wages foreign guides are accustomed to. Many live in or near poverty, and their families and children suffer when a Sherpa guide is injured or killed on a climb. Currently, tourism accounts for approximately four percent of this desperately poor country's GDP.

Both companies have a long history of working to support the Sherpa people and raise their profile in the US in a variety of ways. In addition to running the Sherpa Education Fund, Alpine Ascents regularly takes climbing clients to the top of Everest and other peaks in Nepal (and worldwide) with the help of Sherpa guides.

Sherpa Adventure Gear was founded in 2002 by Tashi Sherpa, nephew of one of the Sherpas on Sir Edmund Hillary's famed Everest climb, specifically as a way to help raise awareness for, and give back to, the unsung Sherpa heroes of Everest. In addition to donating a portion of proceeds to the Sherpa Education Fund, the company maintains offices and manufacturing in Nepal, purchases products directly from Sherpa artisans in Namche Bazaar, and supports a team of Sherpa Athletes and Product Ambassadors.

Alpine Ascents was founded in 1986 by Todd Burleson out of his love of traveling and climbing, and knack for guiding. Today, the Seattle-based company provides international guiding services to climb many of the toughest peaks in the world including the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each of the seven continents) as well as their Alpine Ascents Mountaineering School. Their non-profit foundation raises funds for schooling Sherpa children from remote areas of Nepal, where access to education is extremely limited.

To learn more about these companies visit www.sherpaadventuregear.com and www.AlpineAscents.com. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Tashi Sherpa (SAG) at (425) 251-0760 or Gordon Janow (Alpine Ascents) at 206-378-1927.