Typically, Sherpas are small and stocky, with predominantlyMongolian
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
attention. 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. 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."