In Nepal, kids rest as they trek to school above Namche Bazaar, the last stop for climbing teams heading up to Mount Everest. (AP)

In Nepal, kids rest as they trek to school above Namche Bazaar, the last stop for climbing teams heading up to Mount Everest. (AP)

A porter carries a heavy load of ladders used by climbers on Mount Everest to cross gaps in the ice. (AP)

A porter carries a heavy load of ladders used by climbers on Mount Everest to cross gaps in the ice. (AP)

A Sherpa photographs climbers making their way down towards Camp 4 on their way to summit 29,029-foot Mount Everest. (AP)

A Sherpa photographs climbers making their way down towards Camp 4 on their way to summit 29,029-foot Mount Everest. (AP)

In their Kathmandu apartment, Kami Rita sits with his wife Lhakpa Jungmu. They don’t want their children to take the dangerous job of being climbing guides. (AP)

In their Kathmandu apartment, Kami Rita sits with his wife Lhakpa Jungmu. They don’t want their children to take the dangerous job of being climbing guides. (AP)

The Sherpa people are proud of their reputation and culture. Friends arrive in Kathmandu to welcome Kami Rita after his record-setting climb. (AP)

The Sherpa people are proud of their reputation and culture. Friends arrive in Kathmandu to welcome Kami Rita after his record-setting climb. (AP)

Changes for Mountain Guides

Posted: July 2, 2018

Kami Rita decided to become an Everest guide when he was just a kid. “Growing up in the village I envied the good clothes and things that people in the village brought back after expeditions," he says.

Many people in Nepal are poor. Most earn around $700 each year. But as an experienced guide, Mr. Rita earns about $10,000 for each climb he completes. Money isn’t the reason he keeps climbing though. He says he does it for his family, the Sherpa people, and his country.

Many Sherpas live in the mountains of China, India, and Nepal. Sherpas know Mount Everest better than anybody. Historically, they have herded yaks over its high trails. It’s like they have been training for Everest climbs their entire lives! So mountaineers often hire Sherpa guides to help them climb. Sherpas prepare routes. They place guide ropes and carry supplies.

It’s not an easy life. “There are many risks in climbing,” Mr. Rita says. It is always dangerous—even for someone like him.

Mr. Rita has lost friends in mountaineering accidents. He dodges avalanches. He moves over unpredictable, towering slopes through frigid weather and thin air. Thankfully, guides today have better equipment than they once did. Weather forecasting has gotten better too. But the dangers are still there.

Mr. Rita says he must keep climbing because he doesn’t know any other way of life. But things could be changing for the Sherpa. Mr. Rita says he doesn’t want to pass the climbing tradition on. His two children are in a private school in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. They are safe. They are getting an education their parents could not have imagined back in their home villages. Mr. Rita and his wife Jungmu agree: Their children won’t be mountain guides.

Children are a heritage from the Lord. ― Psalm 127:3