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woman and child World of the Sherpa
part 2 | back to part 1

Typically, Sherpas are small and stocky, with predominantly Mongolian features. The traditional dress of women is a dark wrap-around robe with a woven wool apron that has bright colored horizontal stripes. The men, on the other hand, usually wear second-hand western climbing clothing.

In 1976, the Khumbu region was named Sagarmatha National Park, and in 1980 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on both the "natural" and "cultural" lists. Recently, the accumulation of garbage on the South Col of Everest, at Base Camp, and on trekking routes lower down, has generated worldwide trashattention. But local concern and some new regulations have combined with international efforts to clean up much of it, such that Base Camp is now nearly spotless, and waste is carefully managed. Many of the oxygen bottles have been removed from the South Col, and the staff of Sagarmatha National Park and the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee have begun to establish long term disposal facilities along the approach route. Sherpa father and son These agencies, in concert with the Sherpas' social and religious institutions, have also begun to manage the forests and other natural resources of the Park. Replanting deforested hillsides has been an especially tough challenge: the traditional household hearth burns 2.5 metric tons of firewood per year.

Jamling Norgay hopes this expedition will bring about a greater international understanding of the Sherpa heritage: "I'm hoping that Sherpas and their culture will be viewed more widely and sympathetically as a result of the expedition, and the film."

Read about the Tengboche Monastery and see images from the colorful Mani Rimdu festival.

Broughton Coburn, author and long-time resident of Nepal is an advisor to MacGillivray Freeman Film's IMAX/IWERKS 1570 large format film "Everest."

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